Premier Mandatory in Beijing: Sara Errani fought back from a set down to beat Andrea Petkovic - UBITENNIS
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Premier Mandatory in Beijing: Sara Errani fought back from a set down to beat Andrea Petkovic

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World Number 20 Sara Errani rallied from a set down to overcome number 21 Andrea Petkovic with 3-6 6-3 6-2 after two hours and two minutes in a match marked by a lot of unforced errors and a lot of breaks of serve. With this win Errani has reached the third round of the China Open WTA Premier Mandatory in Beijing after beating Petra Kvitova and Caroline Garcia in the previous two rounds.

Errani broke serve on Petkovic’s first service game before holding her serve in the second and the fourth games to take a 3-1 lead but the German reeled off five consecutive games to clinch the first set with 6-3.

Petkovic did not convert a break point in the first game of the second set with two unforced errors but she broke serve to love two games later for 2-1. Errani broke straight back as Petkovic sent her backhand into the net before taking the 3-2 as the German his her forehand wide. Errani got the break in the 8th game before holding her serve to love in the next game. Errani sealed the win in the second set with 6-3 as Petkovic hit her return into the net.

The third set started with three breaks of serve in the first three service games. Errani reeled off four consecutive games from 3-3 in the second set to build a 6-3 1-0 lead with a break of serve in the first game of the third set. Petkovic broke straight back but she dropped her serve again to trail 1-2 as she made two consecutive double faults and sent a forehand wide. Petkovic broke straight back for 2-2 but Errani broke again for 3-2 before holding her serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Errani pulled away to 5-2 with a new break and served for the match. In a very long final game Petkovic saved three match points at deuce before Errani sealed the third set with 6-2 after 49 minutes on her fourth match point. The Italian had already beaten the German in the third round of the 2015 Roland Garros with 6-3 6-3.

Errani, who is ranked 19th in the Road to Singapore, has still a small chance to qualify for the WTA Finals but she would need to win the Beijing tournament and defend her position in one of the tournaments after Beijing (Tjanjin, Hong Kong, Linz, Moscow and Luxemburg).

The 28-year-old Italian player will face the winner of the match between Timea Bacsinszky and Carla Suarez Navarro. For the first time in a Premier Mandatory Tournament three Italian players have reached the third round. Tomorrow US Open champion Flavia Pennetta will play against Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova, while Roberta Vinci will face Bethanie Mattek Sands

Number-5 seed Garbine Muguruza is one match away from qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore after cruising to 6-2 6-1 over US qualifier Irina Falconi in her opening match in the Chinese capital.

Muguruza, who finished runner-up to Venus Williams last week in Wuhan, built up a 6-2 4-0 lead by reeling off eight consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set en route to closing out the match with 6-2 6-1. If Muguruza wins her next match, she will become the first Spanish player to qualify for the WTA FInals since Aranxta Sanchez Valero in 2001

Muguruza will face Mirjana Lucic Baroni. They are tied 1-1 in their previous two head-to-head matches. In their last match earlier this year Muguruza beat the Croatian player en route to reaching the Wimbledon final. Lucic Baroni beat Muguruza at last year’s US Open.

“I am happy. I tried to keep the level I had in Wuhan and Tokyo. It was hard because I didn’t play for two days and here the conditions are not the same, so I am happy. I didn’t know that I was one win away from Singapore. I knew obviously if I did a great tournament here, I would qualify for the WTA Finals but I didn’t know which round it was. That’s a very good motivation. I want to finish the year in a good year. I want to on holiday and say: “Look. I had a great year. I did everything I could to go off the court feeling that I gave it all my effort”, said Muguruza.

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Russian Tennis Players Allowed To Play Olympics Despite Breaking IOC Rules, Says NGO

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Mirra Andreeva – Australian Open 2024 (foto: X @WTA)

new report has alleged that four Russian players have been given the green light to play in the Olympic Games despite breaking or being suspected of breaking neutrality rules. 

The human rights law organization Global Rights Compliance says the quartet are among a large group of athletes from the country who have broken the rules by either supporting Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine or by working for the Russian military or intelligence services. Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, Russian and Belarussian athletes are only allowed to participate in the Olympics under a neutral status. They are also exempt from being part of the opening ceremony.  

As part of the guidelines set out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), these neutral athletes can only compete if they don’t show flags, emblems or the anthems of their country. They also must not have publicly supported the invasion of Ukraine or be contracted to the military.

Four-time Grand Slam doubles champion and former world No.13 in singles Elena Vesnina has been named as one of these athletes to have violated the rules, according to the Global Rights Compliance. She has been accused of using her Twitter account (now X) to retweet a post about Vladimir Putin outlining his plans to annex Crimea. On March 7th she is said to have linked an Instagram post about the killing of three Russian soilders in ukraine with the text saying “The Ministry of Defence spoke about the heroism of three more Russian soldiers”. Later that month, it is claimed she liked a post about gymnast Ivan Kuliak who displayed a pro-war “Z” symbol at a medal ceremony during the Gymnastics World Cup in Doha. 

French Open semi-finalist Mirra Adreeva is said to have liked an edited video of speeches by Putin and Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In the video, Putin says “the only thing that bothers us in this case is how to not catch cold at [Zelenskyy’s] funeral”. The text says “Legendary phrase” with laughing emojis, a Russian flag, and a heart.

Diana Shnaider, who has won two WTA titles this season, is accused of breaking rules by liking two Instagram posts during the same month the war began in February 2022. The first post was a video of media executive Margarita Simonyan justifying the invasion of ukraine. The other video is of Aleksandr Mikhailov reciting a poem which disparages those who are ashamed of being called Russian and openly claims that Ukrainians are Russians. 

Finally, men’s world No.60 Pavel Kotov is suspected of breaking the rules by being a former member of the Central Sports Club which has links to the Russian Ministry of Defence. Regarding Kotov, the report states ‘whilst it is unclear whether ties have been fully severed, affiliation with the CSKA would mean Kotov is directly subordinated to the Russian military and violates the IOC’s Principles on prohibited conduct.’ 

All four tennis players named in the report have not been given an opportunity to respond so far. Reuters news agency quotes the IOC as saying they can’t comment on individual cases highlighted in the report or on the decisions of the review panel to allow these athletes to participate in the Olympics.

It has been claimed that  33 of 59 neutral athletes entered into this year’s Olympic Games have broken IOC rules. 

Global Rights Compliance is a is a not-for-profit organisation specialising in international humanitarian, criminal and human rights law. In recent years they have been working closely with Ukraine with one of their tasks being helping the government ‘adopt legislation, regulations, and best practice facilitating the prosecution of atrocity crimes committed during the Russian-Ukrainian War.’ 

The Olympic Games opening ceremony will take place next Friday with the tennis tournament starting on July 27th. 

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Rafael Nadal Boosts Olympic Preparations With Norrie Victory, Advances To Maiden 2024 Quarter-Final

Rafael Nadal reached his first ATP quarter-final in Bastad.

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Rafael Nadal boosted his preparations for the Olympics with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Cameron Norrie in Bastad.

The win means that Nadal is into his first ATP quarter-final of the season with an impressive straight sets win.

It didn’t all go Nadal’s way as the Spaniard was tested in the opening set with Norrie producing some consistent and attacking play.

The British number two managed to create some tough moments for Nadal but ultimately Norrie lacked that killer instinct to make it count.

That was the difference between him and Nadal as the Spaniard used the forehand to move Norrie out of position, therefore finishing the points off with ease.

A break in the seventh game put Nadal in control but the former champion in Bastad had to work hard to close out the opening set with Norrie pushing for the break.

However, Nadal did secure the opening set 6-4 with some incredible hitting.

As expected though Nadal’s level dropped in the second set as he still hasn’t managed to find his consistent level.

A sensational passing shot at the net saw Norrie break before consolidating to take a 4-1 lead.

It was an incredible turnaround for the Brit but a lack of composure and concentration allowed Nadal a chance to get back in the match.

Get back in the match Nadal did as he managed to sustain a high level of play throughout the next period of the match, securing five games in a row to claim the win.

After the match Nadal spoke about how crucial it was for him to improve his rhythm, “I think I played in some moments good tennis, in some moments I need to play a little bit more aggressive, but that is part of the journey today,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“Great feelings. I’ve been a while without playing on the Tour, since Roland Garros.  To have the chance to compete well against a great player like Cameron is a great feeling.

“I haven’t been competing very often, so matches and victories like today help. To be in rhythm the whole match and hold the pressure on the opponent the whole match, that’s something that I need to improve, because I didn’t play enough.”

Nadal will now aim for a tenth win of the season when he plays fourth seed Mariano Navone on Friday.

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2024 BNP Paribas Open Added Nearly $1bn To Local Economy, Says Study

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The total gross economic impact of this year’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells was more than 50% greater than that of 2022, according to a study published by George Washington University. 

There was a total gross economic impact of over $852 million on the Coachella Valley regional economy, which is significantly higher than the $565 million that was generated in 2022. 2022 was the last time the study was conducted.

The economic impact figures are calculated by the direct ($568,988,608) and indirect and induced ($247,822,499) economic impacts and then adding them together. Direct spending includes money spent by out-of-town visitors and indirect includes re-spending of this money by the regional businesses in the regional economy.

According to a press release provided by the tennis tournament, this year’s BNP Paribas Open generated an attendance of 493,440 visitors over a two-week period which is a new record. On average each visitor to the event spent 3.18 days there. It is also estimated that there were 44,000 more out-of-town visitors to Indian Wells than two years ago. 

“The BNP Paribas Open continues to deliver a positive impact on the Coachella Valley economy,” said Philippe Dore, Chief Marketing Officer of the BNP Paribas Open. “With nearly $1 billion in total impact this year and a 51 percent increase compared to 2022, we remain poised for sustained success and growth in the community for years to come.”

To put the figures into perspective, a study conducted in 2023 by Researchers at the sports industry research centre at Sheffield Hallam University estimated that Wimbledon provides an estimated £200M ($259,675,000*) boost to the London economy. Meanwhile, in June 2024 Nielsen Sports reported that the Australian Open has generated AUS$3.14bn ($2,115bn*) in economic benefits to the Australian state of Victoria, where the event is hosted, over the past decade. 

George Washington University has calculated the findings by estimating the direct and indirect input based on ‘industry standard methodology, visitor survey results, and the data provided by Indian Wells organizers and sponsors.”

Indian Wells is a combined event that is categorised as a Masters 1000 for men and as a WTA 1000 for women. This year Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek captured the titles with each of them earning $1,100,000 in prize money.

*Figures are rough estimates based on the current exchange rate. 

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