Lukas Rosol knocks out Jo Wilfried Tsonga to reach the quarter finals in Vienna - UBITENNIS
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Lukas Rosol knocks out Jo Wilfried Tsonga to reach the quarter finals in Vienna

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Lukas Rosol knocked out last week’s Shanghai Masters 1000 finalist Jo Wilfried Tsonga by 6-4 3-6 6-1 to reach the quarter finals at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. Rosol won for the first time after three defeats against Tsonga, who won the Austrian tournament in 2011. After this defeat Tsonga lost ground in the battle for one of the remaining two spots for the ATP Finals.

Tsonga dropped his serve to go down 4-5 in the first set. Rosol held his serve to win the first set on the next game. Tsonga won the second set by 6-3 to force the match to the third set. Rosol cruised to 6-1 with a series of winners.

“The surface was slow, but it’s not an excuse because you have to adapt to different conditions and to different surfaces. I won’t be playing until Paris Bercy. I now have time to rest. I will return home to prepare well for Paris Bercy. I hope to be more consistent in 2016. I didn’t play enough to win. I tried but things did not work for me. I am not sad for not qualifying for London. ”, said Tsonga

It was a day of mixed fortunes for French tennis as Gael Monfils beat Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-4 6-4 to set up a quarter final against Rosol.

The match started with three consecutive breaks in the first three games. Monfils broke serve in the first game to 15 but Lorenzi broke back in the next game to 30. Lorenzi made a double fault on the break point to drop serve again to 15. Lorenzi missed two break points for 3-3. Monfils held his serve on the third chance and pulled away to 4-2 with an ace. Lorenzi won his service game with a winner and an ace for 4-5. Monfils served out for the set to love for 6-4.

Lorenzi made three double faults to drop his serve in the third game to trail 1-2. In the next game the Italian player broke back to draw level to 2-2 with a down the line backhand.

In the seventh game Monfils broke serve to 30 with a backhand passing shot to take the lead with 4-3. Monfils served out for the match at 5-4 and held his serve to love to clinch the win.

Spanish star David Ferrer, who is currently ranked eighth in the ATP Ranking and is top seed in Vienna, brushed aside his compatriot Guillermo Garcia Lopez with 6-1 6-1 to boost his chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in London. Ferrer broke serve five times and hit five aces. Thanks to his 49th win in 2015 Ferrer has reached his 12th quarter final this season. Ferrer won four titles this season but missed most of the summer season with an elbow injury

Ferrer fended off two break points at the start of the first set before converting five of his break point chances.

“I have pressure but I am in a good position. There is more pressure on the others”, said Ferrer

Ferrrer will face Italian Fabio Fognini who beat Radek Stepanek 6-1 6-4. Fognini held his first service game before breaking serve in the second game for 2-0. Fognini got a double break to cruise to 6-1 after Stepanek made four break points. Fognini broke serve in the ninth game to take the 5-4 edge before serving out for the match in the next game.

Ferrer has a 15-0 winning record against Fognini.

Kevin Anderson fought back from a set down to edge past Jiri Vesely with 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 7-5. Anderson earned two set points on Vesely’s serve but the Czech player forced it to the tie-break. Vesely took the first set with 7-4. Anderson bounced back winning the second set with 6-3 before saving break points at 5-5 in the decider. The South African player held his serve before breaking on the final point of the match to reach his third quarter final this season after a two-hour and 30-minute battle. Anderson hit 15 aces to bring his total to 980 this year.

Anderson will face Steve Johnson who battled past Jerzy Janowicz 6-4 6-7 (7-9) 6-4. Johnson fended off the two break points and fired 20 aces to Janowicz’s 23. Janowicz drew level by winning the tie-break in the second set with 9-7 but Johnson went up a break to win the third set.

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IOC Plays Down Reported Use Of Translator During Video Call With Peng Shuai

Dick Pound has hit back at what he describes as ‘silly’ accusations made against the IOC.

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A longtime member of the International Olympic Committee has insisted there was nothing ‘sinister’ about the alleged use of a translator during a recent video with tennis player Peng Shuai.

 

The IOC is the only international body who has been able to speak with the tennis player since she accused a former government official of sexual assault in a Weibo post published on November 2nd. The post was removed within an hour of publication and restrictions are currently in place on Shuai’s account. The WTA has voiced concerns that Shuai is currently being censored by the authorities and has threatened to stop doing business with China should they not guarantee her safety.

In a recent 30-minute video call with IOC president Thomas Bach and two other officials, the governing body said they were satisfied that the two-time Grand Slam champion is safe. Although they didn’t post any clips of their video or mention the allegations in their press release. Prompting allegations from some that they are reluctant to intervene in the matter with China hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Some questions have also been raised over the reported use of a translator during the IOC’s video with Shuai even though she has conducted numerous press conferences in English. Dick Pound, who is a member of the IOC, said he believes there is nothing suspicious about the use of a translator for anyone who doesn’t speak English as their first language. Although the Canadian hasn’t seen the video himself.

“IOC members have not heard the programme (of the video call). I think in anything that could be potentially as serious as sexual harassment claim. Anybody who is not speaking in their first language would probably want to have somebody there who can help in the event that their personal vocabulary was not up to the complexity of the subject. I don’t see anything sinister about that,” Pound told Bloomberg TV on Tuesday.

Pound is a member-at-large on the Olympic Committee and does not sit on their executive board. He says that his organisation is ‘satisfied’ about Peng’s safety as he brushed aside concerns raised by the WTA. The governing body of women’s tennis has tried to contact their player on numerous occasions. The WTA confirmed they have received two purported emails from Shuai but suspect they were written under the influence of others.

“They were all satisfied with the content, the atmosphere and all of that about the conversation. So I would prefer to rely on the people who had the actual contact and not those who tried to contact her.” Pound commented.

As for the allegations that the IOC is backing the claims made by China about Shuai’s safety in order to avoid confrontation, the official branded those remarks as ‘silly.’ Although the organisation has previously been reluctant to interfere in the affairs of another country if the matter isn’t related to the Olympics. In October IOC Vice President John Coates told reporters that challenging China over their human rights record is not within their remit.

Frankly, I think that’s a little silly and it’s not supported by the evidence,” Pound said in response to those allegations.
“All kinds of people were trying to get in touch with her to make sure that she was alive and healthy and not in captivity,” he added. “The only organization in the world that’s been able to establish that is the IOC. I thought it was a very good start and everyone should be reassured she’s fine.”

Shuai hasn’t spoken in public since making her allegations.

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Emma Raducanu Sheds Light On Work With ‘Infectious’ Coach Beltz

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Emma Raducanu reacts during a Women's Singles quarterfinal match at the 2021 US Open, Wednesday, Sep. 8, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

US Open champion Emma Raducanu has described her newly appointed coach as somebody who is constantly ‘lifting the mood’ in her team.

 

The 19-year-old has paired up with Germany’s Torben Beltz after deciding to split with Andrew Richardson who guided her to her first Grand Slam title in New York. Raducanu has previously stated that she wants to work with somebody who has a greater experience of life on the WTA Tour. Beltz ticks those boxes after spending multiple stints working with former world No.1 Angelique Kerber. He has also previously coached Croatia’s Donna Vekic.

Raducanu returned to the court on Sunday at the Royal Albert Hall in London where she played an exhibition match against Elena-Gabriela Ruse who she beat 6-3, 7-6(3). Speaking to reporters after, the Brit praised the positivity of her new mentor. The two are set to travel to the Middle East together ahead of the Mubadala World Tennis Championships which takes place in Abu Dhabi.

“Torben is a super positive guy and he brings great energy,” said Raducanu.
“He’s someone whenever you’re around him you can’t help it because it’s just like infectious. It’s really cool to have that in my team so he’s constantly lifting the mood. I’m really excited to work with him and I’ll get a better chance to get to know him better this off-season and see where it goes.
“We’ve been in communication a lot. I’ve just been doing a lot of fitness, like four to five hours a day training and start my tennis next week, so he’s coming in and we’ll be working hard together during the off-season and into Australia.”

Elaborating further on her current training routine, Raducanu says she is encouraged by the work she is putting in. However, the world No.19 is keeping grounded by how much improvement she can make to her game during what is a relatively short off-season.

I start the day on a high and by the fourth hour I’m already feeling it. For me, I know that gives me confidence that I’m putting the work in. I take that as a mental strength and an advantage and although four weeks is a great time, the off-season is quite short,” she said.
“Realistically, I’m not sure how much I can improve in four weeks, but I feel like playing a full schedule next year I’ll improve. Just playing matches and getting match fitness – that’s the only real way it kind of happens.”

Raducanu made her WTA Tour debut at the Nottingham Open in June. Since then she has rocketed up the world rankings which was started by a surprise run to the fourth round of Wimbledon on what was her Grand Slam debut. She went on to reach the final of a WTA 125 tournament in Chicago prior to her major breakthrough at the US Open.

However, the rising star has had mixed results since New York by winning two out of five matches played across three tournaments.

“For me, I am just going about my business. I take the train sometimes. I am doing the same journeys I used to. I feel like I am the exact same person. I will go about everything I used to do,” Raducanu stated.
“I don’t see why I should change the things that got me that title. I am still enjoying it.”

At the Mubadala World Tennis Championships Raducanu is set to play Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic on December 16th.

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New Covid-19 Variant, New Headache For Tennis Australia’s 2022 Masterplan

After months of planning, officials unveiled their calendar for the Australian summer of Tennis which concludes with their pinnacle Grand Slam event. However, a new development in the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to throw plans into chaos.

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The head of Tennis Australia says there remains ‘unanswered questions’ over the new Covid-19 variant amid concerns that it could derail plans recently set out for the start of the 2022 season.

 

Craig Tiley has spoken to government officials about the Omicron variant which has recently been classed by the World Health Organisation as ‘a variant of concern.’ The global body warned on Monday there is a ‘high risk’ of it spreading globally. However, research is still ongoing and one of those who discovered Omicron in South Africa says it is not clear if it causes a more severe disease. Angelique Coetzee, who is the chair of the South African Medical Association, told AFP that dozens of her patients suspected of having the new variant only experienced mild symptoms and recovered fully without hospitalization.

However, it is the uncertainty which is posing a threat to Tennis Australia and their plans to stage a total of 17 tournaments during January across various states. On Monday the country paused the next phrase of their border reopening which was set to take place on December 1st. However, they are not closing their borders completely which is what Japan and Israel have done.

“We knew that when we announced the event there would be some more challenges just because of the nature of the world we have been living in for the last two years,“ Tiley told The Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday. “But we are still waiting. I have been talking with the government over night (Saturday) and this morning. There are a lot of unanswered questions around this and I think in the next 14 days we will get some more clarity. But at this point the plans are going ahead as they are.”

As it currently stands the first charter flight of players is set to arrive in Australia between December 27-28. There will be a total of 20 charter flights operating. All players are required to take a PCR test before departing and then another test upon arrival in the country.

Victoria, which is the state where the Australian Open is held in, has updated their COVID-19 policy. According to The Age newspaper, anybody who tests positive for the Omicron variant or has been in close contact with somebody who has will be required to enter a 14-day quarantine regardless of their vaccination status. Although these rules may change nearer to the Grand Slam starting depending on research into the strain.

We will continue to take sensible and responsive evidence based action, led by medical experts. This will ensure we can open safely, and stay safely open as we learn to live with the virus.” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.

Besides the national government, Tennis Australia is also faced with the tough task of monitoring state rules which differ around the country whilst operating their tournaments. For example the Australian Open stance on vaccination is due to a health mandate which has been enforced by the Victorian Premier. If the tournament took place in another region, the rules might have differed.

As of November 29th Australia has recorded five cases of the Omicron variant.

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