Serena Williams Could Face a $125k Fine For Not Playing in Singapore - UBITENNIS
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Serena Williams Could Face a $125k Fine For Not Playing in Singapore

Ivan Pasquariello

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Serena Williams shockingly announced this week that she decided not to play for the rest of the 2015 season. Citing the American World No.1, there have been too many injuries Williams had to struggle with all year long, counting one on her heart lately after losing to Roberta Vinci in New York.

 

The problem with Serena however, seems to be that she can’t just deliberately walk away from the last tournaments of the season, which include in the list the year-end championships in Singapore. Serena has already qualified for the finals, and there are some strict rules the WTA applies for the final tournament organised in Singapore.

Using the analysis presented by Spanish portal Punto de Break, we can see that Serena could face up to $125.000 of fee if she confirms her decision not to play in Singapore.

That’s because the WTA has a specific rule regarding the year-end championships, which says that players who can’t compete but have qualified are required to assist and attend the event for at least 2 days, at least 3 hours per day, to promote the WTA and the event itself.

Speaking of sanctions, in the box reserved to that, the WTA says that:

The qualified players who will not play in the event and will not attend the event for promotional matters will face a $125.000 fee for the singles main draw and a $25.000 fee for the doubles tournament. Then a total of 0 points will be issued and will count as the 16th best result for the player, to be counted in the ranking”.

We don’t really think we will see Serena attending Singapore for 2 days for promotional reasons, now that she said she is going to take a break and recharge her batteries to start 2016 at her best.

Also, what about Maria Sharapova and Lucie Safarova? Considering their injuries they might be forced to withdraw too from the Singapore Masters. Will they face a fee too if they can’t show up in Asia?

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WTA Ranking: Swiatek extends her dominance. Jabeur moves up to No. 6

Iga Swiatek leads the WTA rankings heading into Roland Garros after her latest win in Rome.

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Iga Swiatek (@WTA - Twitter)

By Claudio Girardelli, translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

 

Unstoppable. Iga Swiatek wins her fourth WTA 1000 of the year, her fifth tournament in a row. Her winning streak rises to 28. After her triumph in Rome, she has extended the gap between herself and the other players to 2150 points. Neither Barbora Krejcikova, defending champion at Roland Garros, nor Badosa and Sakkari, who will be defending their quarterfinal and sem-ifinal of last year could bridge such a gap.

Yet, On the courts of the Bois de Boulogne there is much more at stake for Iga: if she weren’t to leave Paris with the Roland Garros crown, fans and pundits may cast some doubts upon the legitimacy of her leadership, conquered after Bartys’ shock retirement.

Unexpected. Who would have imagined Ons Jabeur could be so consistent? After winning the Mutua Madrid Open last week, she confirmed her worth and form at Rome. By reaching the final not only does she achieve her career best, but she is running for the top 5. Last year she reached the fourth round in Paris, but the players ahead of will be defending even more points than her: 2000 points Krejcikova, 430 Badosa, 780 Sakkari.

TOP 50

WTA Rank+/-PlayerTournaments playedPoints
10Iga Swiatek177061
20Barbora Krejcikova184911
30Paula Badosa274770
40Maria Sakkari184726
50Anett Kontaveit224446
6+1Ons Jabeur204380
7+1Aryna Sabalenka203966
8-2Karolina Pliskova163568
90Danielle Collins193315
100Garbiñe Muguruza183031
110Jessica Pegula202955
120Emma Raducanu232910
130Jelena Ostapenko192536
140Belinda Bencic192525
15+1Victoria Azarenka172440
16+1Elena Rybakina242420
17+1Leylah Fernandez242250
18-3Coco Gauff182165
19+2Simona Halep172126
20+3Daria Kasatkina222115
21-1Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova122093
22-3Angelique Kerber152074
23-1Madison Keys191899
24+5Jil Teichmann231783
25-1Tamara Zidansek201683
26-1Liudmila Samsonova271682
27-1Sorana Cirstea241670
28+4Amanda Anisimova201655
29+1Camila Giorgi211612
30-2Veronika Kudermetova221585
310Ekaterina Alexandrova221531
32-5Elina Svitolina201453
330Elise Mertens201446
340Petra Kvitova201435
350Marketa Vondrousova201421
360Anhelina Kalinina341387
37+3Yulia Putintseva241365
380Naomi Osaka111295
39-2Sara Sorribes Tormo231286
40-1Alizé Cornet241266
41+1Shuai Zhang361240
42+1Alison Riske241201
43+1Clara Tauson281199
44-3Ajla Tomljanovic231186
45+5Aliaksandra Sasnovich221183
460Kaia Kanepi221177
47-2Katerina Siniakova201171
48+3Nuria Parrizas Diaz421160
49+3Beatriz Haddad Maia351158
50+12Mayar Sherif421135

In the top 50, we can notice that:

  • In the top 10, Ons Jabeur (No.6) and Aryna Sabalenka (No.7) gain a position. The 2021 runner up in Rome, Karolina Pliskova drops 2 (No.8), still struggling this year.
  • In the top 20, best ranking for Leylah Fernandez (+1, No.17) while Coco Gauff loses three positions (No.18), yet to go that extra mile, beyond fifteenth place, her career best. Vi Simona Halep (+2, No.19) and Daria Kasatkina (+3, No.20) are back in the top 20.
  • Concerning positions from 21 to 50, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (-1, No.21) and Angelique Kerber (-3, No.22) slip out of the top 20. Jil Teichmann moves up 5 positions and reaches No.24. Amanda Anisimova (+4, No.28) and Aliaksandra Sasnovich (+5, No.45) are on the rise too. Three new entries in the top 50: Nuria Parrizas Diaz (+3, No.48), Beatriz Haddad Maia (+3, No.48) and the Egyptian Mayar Sherif (+12, No.50), who won the Liqui Moly Open 2022 in Karlsruhe. Elina Svitolina (No.32), who has just announced to be expecting a baby girl, loses 5 positions.

Three players leave the top 50: Shelby Rogers (-3, No.51), Sloane Stephens (-4, No.53) and Petra Martic (-23, No.70), defeated in Rome by Bianca Andreescu, who, after her 21-position leap of last week, gains other 18 positions and now is No.72. The other climbers of the week are: Xinyu Wang (+12, No.75), Lauren Davis (+12, No.90), Claire Liu (+26, No.92). Kristina Mladenovic instead slips out of the top 100 (-10, No.101).

NEXT GEN RANKING

Leyla Fernandez moves up to No.2 of the Next Gen ranking, which includes only players born after 1st January 2002. She overtakes Coco Gauff, now No.3. Sixteen-year-old Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva from Andorra, semi-finalist at the ITF Tournament in La Bisbal D’Emporda enters the top 10.

Position+/-PlayerYOBWTA Rank
10Emma Raducanu200212
2+1Leylah Fernandez200217
3-1Coco Gauff200418
40Clara Tauson200243
50Marta Kostyuk200259
60Qinwen Zheng200274
70Diane Parry200296
80Daria Snigur2002133
90Elina Avanesyan2002138
10Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva2005158

RACE

The WTA Race is dominated by Iga Swiatek who has over twice as many points as the closest chaser, Ons Jabeur. Aryna Sabalenka gains 6 positions (No.11) and Daria Kasatkina gains 4 (No.15). Jil Teichman (+4, No.18) enters the top 20.

Position+/-PlayerTournaments PlayedPts
10Iga Swiatek95290
20Ons Jabeur102510
30Paula Badosa111877
4+1Maria Sakkari91866
5-1Jessica Pegula101802
60Danielle Collins61686
70Anett Kontaveit91486
80Madison Keys101383
90Simona Halep81371
100Belinda Bencic91321
11+6Aryna Sabalenka111227
12+1Amanda Anisimova91216
13-2Jelena Ostapenko91167
14-2Veronika Kudermetova101143
15+4Daria Kasatkina101131
16-1Elena Rybakina111047
17-3Naomi Osaka6990
18+4Jil Teichmann10925
19-1Ekaterina Alexandrova10911
20-4Barbora Krejcikova4895

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Iga Swiatek Unfazed By Pressure Heading Into French Open

The 20-year-old says she has ‘accepted a few things’ which has made it easier for her to relax on the Tour.

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Photo by Roberto Dell’Olivo

After claiming her fifth title in a row at the Italian Open, Iga Swiatek has insisted that she will be able to cope with the high expectations from those around her heading into the next Grand Slam later this month.

 

The world No.1 dispatched of Ons Jabeur in straight sets on Sunday at the Foro Italico to extend her winning streak to 28 matches. Becoming only the fourth woman to do so since 2000 after both of the Williams sisters and Justin Henin. Overall, she has won 35 matches this season against just three losses. Prior to Rome, she also won titles in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami and Stuttgart. A run she described as ‘pretty surreal.’

Given Swiatek’s surge on the Tour, she is heading into the French Open as the one to beat in the women’s draw. A former winner of the major back in 2020, the Pole has the extra pressure of being the No.1 seed in a Grand Slam draw for the first time at the age of 20. In recent weeks she has had to also deal with a surge of media interest in her.

However, ironically Swiatek believes her unbeaten run in the sport has in one way helped eased her own personal expectations.

“Right now it’s a little bit better ’cause I kind of accepted a few things,” she told reporters in Rome on Sunday when asked about how she is dealing with the pressure.
“I already know that I did some great stuff this season, so I feel like I can just play freely and not think I have to win some tournaments or I have to win some matches or I have to save some points.’
“This year the pressure that I always put on myself, it’s a little bit lower. For sure the expectations around are higher, but I never had a problem to cut it off and not to think about it.”

Approaching Roland Garros Swiatek believes the best method is to change nothing. She is currently coached on the Tour by Tomasz Witkorowski who joined her team during the off-season. Witkorowski has previously worked with Agnieszka Radwańska. Also supporting her is sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz who has been working with the tennis star for over two years.

“Honestly, I’m going to do the same way I’ve done here (in Rome), also in other tournaments,” Swiatek said of her preparations for the French Open. “For sure it’s going to be a little bit harder with all the breaks that we’re going to have between matches. I also like the rhythm that we have on Grand Slams. Again, I’m going to try to do step by step, just think of the next match as I did in these tournaments.”

Should she win the French Open, Swiatek would have the longest winning streak on the WTA Tour since Serena Williams back in 2013. Whilst many are tipping her for more Grand Slam glory, she is keeping an open mind about how much longer she can keep her winning streak for.

“Good question. I think nobody knows the answer,” she replied.

The French Open will begin next Sunday.

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Novak Djokovic Topples Tsitsipas To Win Record 38th Masters Title In Rome

The world No.1 says his latest triumph ‘couldn’t be a better time of the year’ with the French Open swiftly approaching.

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Novak Djokovic overcame a second set blip to seal his sixth Italian Open title after ousting an at times erratic Stefanos Tsitsipas.

 

The world No.1 enjoyed a dream start before later getting tested during his 6-0, 7-6(5),win over the 23-year-old in what was their ninth Tour meeting. After storming through the opener, Djokovic was forced to battle back from 2-5 down in the second set. Overall, he produced 24 winners against 14 unforced errors to extend his head-to-head record against Tsitsipas to 7-2.

“I can say that I pleasantly surprised myself even though I had a clear game plan and strategy coming into the match,” Djokovic told TennisTV when asked about his start to the final. “I knew what was expected from the other side so I knew what I had to do. I did play a perfect set, no doubt about it.’
“After that it was a little bit tough at the beginning of the second. At this level one or two points can turn a match around and he was back in the game. 1-4 and 30-40 to him (Tsitsipas), the match could have easily gone into the third set but I somehow managed to find the right shots at the right time.” He added.

Taking to the court to play in his 12th Rome final, Djokovic dictated proceedings from the onset by producing clinical tennis against Tsitsipas who struggled to find his rhythm on the court. The top seed first drew blood in the opening game when a forehand from his rival slammed into the net which rewarded him a break. Two games later Djokovic extended his lead further to 3-0 at the expense of more Tsitsipas mistakes. This time it was a double fault followed by a backhand going wide.

Djokovic’s relentless play frustrated Tsitsipas who appeared lost. A remarkable contrast to their previous meeting at last year’s French Open where the Serbian had to battle back from two sets down. In cruise control, he closed out the 30-minute opening set with a smash at the net to become the first player to bagel Tsitsipas since Rafael Nadal did so at the 2019 Australian Open.

Cheered on by the crowd who were hoping for a battle between two of the Tour’s best players, Tsitsipas finally ended his losing streak by holding at the start of the second set. Prompting chants of ‘Tsitsipas’ to erupt at the Foro Italico. The Greek capitalized on the support as Djokovic faltered with a forehand mistake to gift him a break for 3-1 and revive his title hopes. One notable difference between the sets was the change of his tactics by hitting more to the Djokovic backhand.

After positioning himself on the verge of forcing a decider, Tsitsipas was unable to seize the opportunity. Working his way to a 5-2 lead, a tentative service game saw him produce a failed drop shot followed by a backhand unforced error to hand his nemesis the break back. Who eventually battled back to level 5-5.

With a historic 38th Masters 1000 title at stake, Djokovic held his nerve to prevail in a roller-coaster second set tiebreaker. After getting the mini break for a 3-2 lead when a Tsitsipas backhand crashed into the net, he lost his advantage 5 points later when one of his shots touched the net and landed out. Nevertheless, Djokovic nudged his way to championship point with a serve down the line was returned out by Tsitsipas. The title was then sealed when his rival hit a backhand that drifted wide.

“I have been building my form over the last couple of weeks and like the previous years I knew that my best on the clay is usually coming around Rome time,” said Djokovic. “It couldn’t be a better time of year coming into Roland Garros with a (Masters) title in this wonderful tournament.”

Djokovic’s latest win is his 232nd over a top 10 player which is an Open Era record for the ATP Tour. Besides claiming his 87th Tour title, he has become the oldest player ever to have won the Italian Open. Beating the previous benchmark set by Nadal 12 months ago.

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