Ferrer, Nishikori secure final berths for London after Gasquet defeat - UBITENNIS
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Ferrer, Nishikori secure final berths for London after Gasquet defeat

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Nishikori will take his place in London again (by Gerad Chaustow)

Nishikori will take his place in London again ( photo by Gerad Chaustow)

Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer may not have played this week, but both are now confirmed as having qualified for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals.

 

Richard Gasquet’s defeat to Rafael Nadal in the Basel semi-final means that no set of circumstances can see him overtake Ferrer or Nishikori in the final Masters event in Paris-Bercy.

Ferrer and Nishikori will now join six other players vying for the year-end crown.

  1. Novak Djokovic: A scintillating year for the World No.1 that has seen him claim three Grand Slam titles and five Masters 1000 titles. Making his ninth appearance and has four titles 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014.
  2. Andy Murray: Another strong year for the Briton, but no Grand Slam title, falling to Djokovic in Australia. Two Masters and a career season on clay. Making his seventh appearance (has qualified eight times). Best finish semi-finals, 2008, 2010, 2012.
  3. Roger Federer: Two finals, but like Murray thwarted by Djokovic at Wimbledon and the US Open. Five titles on the year including a Masters 1000, and Dubai, where he defeated Djokovic for the only time this year. Making his fourteenth appearance and has six titles 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011.
  4. Stan Wawrinka: Another Grand Slam title, and the only one to deny Djokovic the Calendar Year Slam by winning Roland Garros. Further titles in Chennai, Rotterdam, and Tokyo. Making his third appearance. Best finish semi finals 2013, 2014.
  5. Tomas Berdych: A solid year, but only got past the Round of Sixteen in Grand Slams in Australia. Two titles in Shenzhen and Stockholm. Sixth appearance. Best result semi-finals 2011.
  6. Rafael Nadal: The King of Clay failed to retain Roland Garros for only the second time. Regaining form as the season draws to a close. Eleventh qualification( absent for four). Best finish runner-up 2010, 2013.
  7. David Ferrer: Missed a significant chunk of season due to injury. Returns after serving as an alternate last year. Seventh appearance (served as an alternate in 2014). Best finish runner-up 2007.
  8. Kei Nishikori: A solid year but disrupted by injury. Poor in the last two Slams, but has still taken titles in Memphis, Barcelona, and Washington DC. Second appearance. Best finish semi-final 2014.

Though the players have been confirmed, the seedings have not been in some cases. The positions from Berdych in fifth to Nishikori/Ferrer tied for seventh/eighth are all interchangeable in Paris. Stan Wawrinka could also overtake Roger Federer for third if he wins Paris and Federer loses early.

There could yet be some French involvement, as Richard Gasquet and Jo Wilfried Tsonga are currently the first two alternates, with a week still to go on the main tour. With concern over David Ferrer’s recent elbow injury, and Kei Nishikori’s troubles this season, there is a possibility that one or both of them will see some match play. Both have participated at the year-end finals before.

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Bianca Andreescu Rewrites History As She Is Named Canadian Athlete of The Year

The world No.5 has achieved another milestone in her blossoming career.

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Tennis sensation Bianca Andreescu has capped off her breakthrough season by winning the most prestigious sporting prize of her country.

 

The 19-year-old has become the first tennis player is history to win the Lou Marsh Trophy. An honour that has been awarded to Canada’s top athlete each year since 1936. Andreescu was unanimously selected to receive the trophy by a panel of 24 top sports media members. Fending off competition from Brooke Henderson (golf), Jordan Binnington (ice hockey), Andre De Grasse (athletics) and Mike Soroka (baseball).

“Wow, I’m so thankful for this award. I was not expecting it and to be the first tennis player to win is even more surreal,” Andreescu said.
“None of my success this year would have been possible without the support from all of Canada. Canadian sports crushed it this year so there are definitely many other athletes who deserve a piece of this award as well — we all motivate each other to be better.’
“I can’t wait for what 2020 will bring and am always proud to represent Canada at the highest level.”

Andresscu’s latest milestone is one that surprised few. In September moguls skier Mikael Kingsbury, who won the trophy in 2018, said to Andreescu on Twitter ‘anytime you want to come take the #LouMarsh I have it in Montreal… it’s all yours now.’

This season Andreescu has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the world of tennis. Highlighted by a win-loss record of 48-7. Starting 2019 outside the top 100 with less than $200,000 in career earnings, she has rocketed up the rankings. She won her maiden WTA title in Indian Wells, followed by the Rogers Cup a few months later. However, her biggest achievement took place at the US Open when she defeated Serena Williams to win the US Open. Becoming the first Canadian in history to win a grand slam singles title.

As a result of her breakout, Andreescu has made $6,504,150 in prize money this season. The 10th highest by a player (man or woman) in 2019. An impressive achievement for the Canadian, who at one stage could only play one match during a four-month period due to injury.

Andreescu will start her 2020 campaign in New Zealand at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Andreescu’s season review

January
– Reaches the final of the ASB Classic as a qualifier. Defeating Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams en route.
– At the Australian Open Andreescu eases through qualifying without dropping a set. After winning her first main draw match, she lost in round 2 to Anastasija Sevastova.
– Caps off the month by winning a WTA 125 title in Newport Beach, California.

February
– Wins both her matches in Canada’s Fed Cup clash with the Netherlands
– Towards the end of the month she reached the semi-finals of the Acapulco Open before losing to Sofia Kenin.

March
– Stuns the tour by winning the BNP Paribas Open as a wild card to claim her first WTA title.
– Follows up Indian Wells by reaching the fourth round in Miami.

April – played no events due to injury

May
– Could only play one match at the French Open, which she won, before withdrawing from the tournament injured.

June & July – missed due to injury

August
– On a comeback from injury she became the first Canadian player in 50 years to win the Rogers Cup. The biggest tennis tournament in her country.

September
– Claims her first grand slam title at the US Open by defeating Serena Williams in straight sets.

October
– Reaches the quarter-finals of the China Open before losing in a three-set thriller to Naomi Osaka.
– Made her debut at the WTA Finals. Lost her opening match to Simona Halep and then retired during her her second against Karolina Pliskova due to injury.

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The ITF Reacts With Caution To Russian Doping Ban

Ubitennis contacted a member of the governing body following the decision to suspend the nation from all major sporting events.

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The International Tennis Federation has said it will wait until an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) from Russia is made before pondering any potential implications it may have on tennis.

 

On Monday the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) slammed the country with a four-year ban from hosting or attending ‘major sporting events.’ Including the 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup. Russia was issued with the penalty for continuous breaches of anti-doping rules. The most recent being evidence that they deliberately tampered with laboratory data by planting fake evidence to cover up failed drugs tests.

The decision to ban Russia was unanimously made, according to a spokesman from WADA. In 2015 an extensive report revealed a state-sponsored doping programme on a mass scale. Resulting in Russia being suspended from international athletics events, including the 2016 Olympics, but they were still allowed to compete as neutral athletes.

“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of Rusada’s reinstatement conditions demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered.” WADA chief Sir Craig Reedie said.
“Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.”

Following the announcement, Ubitennis contacted the ITF to establish their stance on the decision. The governing body is recognised by WADA. Heather Bowler, who is the ITF’s executive director of communications, points out that throughout the investigation, none of the doping violations have been linked to tennis.

“According to the WADA decision issued earlier today (Monday), Russian athletes will only be eligible to compete in major competitions subject to satisfying certain conditions listed by the WADA Compliance Review Committee.“ Bowler said in a statement.
“The ITF is not currently aware of any Russian tennis player having been mentioned in incriminating circumstances in the McLaren Report (2016) nor has any evidence been provided to the ITF at this time in relation to the manipulation, alteration or deletion of anti-doping data in the Moscow anti-doping laboratory’s database.” She added.

Unless there is a successful appeal made, Russian tennis players will only be allowed to participate in the upcoming Olympics under a neutral status. Meaning they are not allowed to fly their own flag. Furthermore if somebody such as Daniil Medvedev wins a gold medal, the Russian national anthem will not be played during the medal ceremony.

Bowler states that all Russian players have been tested under the sport’s own anti-doping controls and not just that of the controversial RUSDA. Indicating that it is unlikely that they will be banned from ITF events such as the Davis Cup unless a new significant discovery arises. The WADA’s definition of a ‘major sporting event’ is confusing at best. They are still allowed to host football matches during the 2020 European Championships because Uefa isn’t classed as a ‘major event organisation.’

“Tennis has a zero tolerance anti-doping policy. All players competing at Grand Slams and ITF, WTA and ATP sanctioned events are subject to the WADA-compliant Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP); a comprehensive programme which includes athlete biological passports, in-competition and out-of-competition testing and the year-round whereabouts programme. Russian players will have been tested under the TADP, outside of Russia.” Bowler outlines.
“WADA’s decision is subject to appeal by RUSADA. For that reason, we will not comment further until that process has reached its final conclusion and we have had the opportunity to review its outcome.”

Kafelnikov – ‘There was a doping system’

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Following the verdict, former world No.1 and 2000 Olympic champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov spoke out. The 45-year-old is now the deputy head of the Russian Tennis Federation. Talking with national media, he blamed those directly involved in the doping programme for not admitting their guilt. Saying that it has resulted in athletes getting unfairly punished. Whilst some officials have doubted the allegation of a state doping system, Kafelnikov has stated the opposite.

“There was a doping system in Russia, I have no doubt about it. Someone must be punished for this.” sport-express.ru quoted him as saying.
“Russian sports could have a reputation if those people, a group of people who started all this, just went out and said: “Yes, I’ve messed up, please forgive me.” I am sure that then in this case there could be some relief for Russian athletes. But no one wants to take responsibility for this. As a result, everything is shifted to poor athletes.”

As for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Kafelnikov has urged his fellow compatriot to still attend the event under a neutral flag if the appeal fails. Saying the event is a priority for ‘every self-respecting athlete.’ During his career, he only participated in the four-year sporting event once.

“If I faced such a dilemma: to go to the Olympics under a neutral flag or to refuse to play for the national team, I would go under a neutral flag,” said Kafelnikov.
“For any self-respecting athlete, the Olympic Games are a priority.”

As of this week, there are 11 Russian tennis players in the top 100. Three on the men’s tour and eight of the women.

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The 2019 WTA Season Review: A Memorable Year For Barty, Andreescu And Others

What a year it has been in the world of women’s tennis.

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Ubitennis.net reviews a great 2019 WTA season highlighted by the first Grand Slam title won by Ashleigh Barty at Roland Garros, the emergence of Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu, the triumph of Simona Halep at Wimbledon and the second consecutive Grand Slam win by Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open.

 

WTA Best player of the year: Ashleigh Barty

Ashleigh Barty moved up to the top of the WTA Ranking for the first time in her career last June after her maiden Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros and ended the season as the year-end world number 1. The 23-year-old from Ipswich became the first Australian player to win a singles Grand Slam title since Sam Stosur at the 2011 US Open and the first player from her country to win the Roland Garros singles title since Margaret Court in 1973.

Barty scored a tour-leading 56 victories and lifted the 2019 WTA Finals Trophy in Shenzhen on her debut after beating defending champion Elina Svitolina in the title match. Barty also won her first WTA Premier Mandatory title in Miami on hard court and the Birmingham Open title on grass. She reached another semifinal in Wuhan and finished runner-up at the China Open in Beijing.

The Aussie player also enjoyed a remarkable season in doubles by reaching the semifinals at the Miami Open with her teammate Victoria Azarenka. They lifted their first title as a team in Rome (a Premier 5 tournament). Barty and Azarenka reached another Premier 5 semifinal at the Canadian Open. They beat Timea Babos and Kiki Mladenovic in the quarter finals of the US Open en route to reaching the final, before losing to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka.

WTA Surprise of the Year: Bianca Andreescu

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Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu enjoyed a very successful season, in which she claimed her maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open and her first Premier Mandatory title at Indian Wells. The Canadian player of Romanian origin improved her ranking from world number 152 at the start of the year to number 107 after reaching the final in Auckland. The player from Mississauga (Ontario) continued her breakthrough season with a semifinal in Acapulco. She became the first wild-card to win the Indian Wells title and the first 18-year-old player to win this tournament since Serena Williams in 1999.

At the US Open Andreescu beat Serena Williams in straight sets to become the first Canadian player to win a Grand Slam title and the first teenager to win a Grand Slam singles title since Maria Sharapova won the 2006 US title.

Grand Slam queens: Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka

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The 2019 season will be remembered by tennis fans for the achievements of Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep, who won their second Grand Slam titles respectively at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon.

Osaka lifted her second consecutive Grand Slam trophy after winning the Australian Open final against Petra Kvitova. The triumph at Melbourne Park followed up her win over Serena Williams in the US Open final in September 2018. Last January Osaka became the first Asian player to be ranked number 1 in the world in singles. Osaka also won two more titles at the Pan Pacific Open in her hometown of Osaka and at the China Open in Beijing.

Simona Halep won her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon after beating Serena Williams in the final. The Romanian star had already won a Major trophy at the 2018 French Open. Halep reached the Wimbledon final as the seventh seeded player, but dropped only one set in the second round against her compatriot Michaela Buzarnescu. She beat Elina Svitolina to reach her fifth Grand Slam final. Halep had previously won just once in her ten head-to-head matches against Serena Williams, but the Romanian player won the Wimbledon final in under an hour dropping just two games in each set. Becoming the first Romanian player to win a Wimbledon singles title. During the 2019 WTA season Halep lost the Madrid Mutua Open final to Kiki Bertens and reached two semifinals in Doha and Miami.

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