Yaroslava Shvedova Beats Naomi Osaka to Take the 2015 Hua Hin Crown - UBITENNIS
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Yaroslava Shvedova Beats Naomi Osaka to Take the 2015 Hua Hin Crown

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The finals of Hua Hin, a new WTA 125K event, pitted eighteen year-old Naomi Osaka against the much more experienced Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.  In an exciting and dramatic 2 hour and 51 minute thriller, Shvedova prevailed 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.

Osaka had a somewhat easier path to the finals having beaten the third seed Nao Hibino in handy fashion 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 on Saturday. Hailing from Osaka, Japan, Osaka is 5’11” and uses her height to full advantage with a strong service game. Against Hibino, Osaka had seventeen aces against just three double faults; further, she won 83% and 78% of her first and second serves-in, respectively. The right-hander is currently ranked number 203 and is the WTA Rising Stars invitational champion.

Shvedova had to work harder to get to the finals in a topsy-turvy 2 hour 42 minute match against Qiang Wang of China that included two tie-breaks. Shvedova’s terrific stamina and perseverance were on display all weekend. The 28 year-old is the fourth seed and is currently ranked 82 on the WTA tour. She played somewhat erratically against Wang; in particular her serve was unreliable and she was especially vulnerable at times on her second serve.

The final match began with a significant twist; Shvedova was the better server from the outset. With her first opportunity in the second game she placed all five of her first serves including an ace for good measure. Osaka’s serve was effective but not the dominant and reliable weapon displayed against Hibino.

Leading 2-1, Osaka had her first big chance to break on the sixth point but dumped a second serve opportunity into the net. Shvedova went on to win the game and Osaka seemed rattled. In the next game she had her first double fault and was broken at love.

Again in game six Osaka had another major chance to break back. Shvedova was a bit erratic and the lead shifted back and forth over twelve points. However, Shvedova rallied and put up an ace followed immediately by a second serve ace to win the game and lead the set 4-2.

Osaka rallied immediately and won her next service game at love and recorded her first ace of the match. But again Osaka failed to capitalize on her opportunities. In game eight Shvedova started to lose her serve and suffered on double fault. But she rose again to the challenge winning the 14-point game with another big ace.

The gripping 22-point final game of the first set was marked by a number of long rallies, some great court coverage and clever shots. However, Shvedova once again found the fortitude to hang tough. At deuce on the 21st point she had a nice get off of a terrific lob by Osaka and hit a short, unreturnable shot just over the net. She won the next point and took the first set 6-4.

Early in set two Osaka showed considerable frustration and negative body language. She was broken immediately and fell behind 0-2 as Shvedova easily confirmed the break. She was not serving nearly as well as in the semi-finals, typically landing 50% or less than her first serves in.

Down 1-3 and serving in game five the teenager temporarily found her service form and won at love punctuated with an ace. She carried this momentum and broke-back in game six to level the match at 3-3.   Neither player could gain the advantage and the set went to a lengthy tie-break marked by seven mini-breaks. Osaka took the set but it was anyone’s guess who had the advantage.

The third set was a see-saw of momentum. Osaka struck first in set three with a break of Shvedova in the third game.   Shvedova broke back immediately in game four but handed game five right back to Osaka. With the set at 3-2 favoring Osaka neither player could seem to muster a decent service game. Osaka double faulted twice in game eight and the set was leveled at 4-4. Shvedova held at love and the match was now teetering on Osaka’s racket. At 15-30 Osaka threw in her sixth double fault of the set. At Championship Point Osaka seemed to foil Shvedova with a short drop shot but the speedy 28 year old was able to move in an lift a beautiful ball over the net, past Osaka and down the line for a winner.

For Shvedova this is her second career WTA title and her first for 2015. Osaka is an up and comer with a great serve and very good ground-strokes and court coverage. Off of their strong showings at Hua Hin both are poised to start 2016 with confidence and promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shintaro Mochizuki reaches the qualifying round of qualifying round at Wimbledon

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Japanese Next Gen star Shintaro Mochizuki came back from one set down to beat French Next Gen player Hugo Gaston 1-6 6-2 6-4 reaching the second round of qualifying at Wimbledon. Mochizuki made his return to the grass court of South-West London. 

 

Mochizuki made history at the All England Club in 2019, when he became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam boys’ singles title. The young Asian player is now ranked world number 500 and is making his first professional level appearance at a Grand Slam tournament. 

Mochizuki became the first Japanese player to claim a Grand Slam boys’ singles title when he won the Wimbledon Trophy. 

Mochizuki has been based at the IMG Academy in Bradenton since he was 12. The Japanese player almost chose baseball over tennis before moving from Japan to Florida. His father was a tennis coach and Shintaro started holding a raquet at the age of 1. He considered quitiing tennis at the age of 9 and pursuing baseball instead. His tennis idoli s Roger Federer, who won his first Grand Slam title 34 days after Mochizuki was born. 

“I did not think I was going to get a wild card for qualies this year, because it’s 2021 and I won in 2019. I was really when I heard I got the wild card and I was super excited”, said Mochizuki. 

US Next Gen player Brandon Nakashima cruised past Aleksandar Vukic 6-1 6-1. Vukic pushed Denis Shapovalov to two tie-breaks at last week’s cinch Championships. 

Tomas Machac battled past Tommy Robredo 7-5 4-6 10-8. Machac is currently 10th in the ATP Race to Milan. 

Bernard Tomic rallied from one set down to beat Blaz Kavic Kavic 4-6 6-4 6-3. 

Maxime Cressy edged past Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3). 

Former world number 10 Ernests Gulbis overcame Dmitry Popko 6-3 5-7 6-4.

Viktor Troicki fought past Christopher Eubanks 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 7-5. 

Zdenek Kolar eased past Martin Klizan 6-1 6-2. Klizan was the final match of his career. 

Roman Safiulin eased past Ivo Karlovic 6-4 6-2. This year’s Buenos Aires finalist Francisco Cerundolo saw off Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves 6-4 6-2. 

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Novak Djokovic Confirmed For Olympics But Del Potro Pulls Out After Medical Advice

The Serbian will be bidding to win gold in Tokyo later this year for the first time in his career.

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This year’s Olympic tennis tournament has been given a boost after officials confirmed world No.1 Novak Djokovic will be playing at the Games.

 

The 19-time Grand Slam champion had been contemplating whether to play at the event or not amid ongoing COVID-19 conditions. Djokovic previously said he would reconsider travelling to Tokyo if fans weren’t allowed to attend. Since that comment, organisers have given the green light for up to 10,000 domestic fans to attend Olympic venues. Although foreign fans are banned from attending this year due to the pandemic.

Amid questions over Djokovic’s participation, the Serbian Tennis Federation has told Sportski Zurnal that he has pledged to play. It will be the fourth time the 34-year-old has represented his country in the Olympics. So far in his career, Djokovic has only won one medal which was bronze back in 2008. He also finished fourth in 2012.

“Novak has confirmed his desire to participate in the Olympic Games and we have already sent a list with his name on it to the Olympic Committee of Serbia. It will be forwarded from there,” the Tennis federation told Sportski Zurnal.

As it currently stands Djokovic is on course to achieve the calendar ‘golden slam.’ A rare achievement where a player wins all four Grand Slam titles, as well as the Olympics, within the same year. In singles competition the only person to have ever achieved this was Stefi Graf back in 1988.

“Everything is possible, and I did put myself in a good position to go for the Golden Slam,” Djokovic said after winning the French Open
“But, you know, I was in this position in 2016 as well. It ended up in a third-round loss in Wimbledon. This year we have only two weeks between the first round of Wimbledon and the finals here, which is not ideal because you go from really two completely different surfaces, trying to make that transition as smooth as possible, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“So obviously I will enjoy this win and then think about Wimbledon in a few days’ time. I don’t have an issue to say that I’m going for the title in Wimbledon. Of course, I am.”

Del Potro’s comeback delayed again

There is less positive news for Juan Martin del Potro, who was the player who beat Djokovic to win a bronze medal back in 2012. The Argentine hasn’t played a competitive match on the Tour since June 2019 due to a troublesome knee injury. Back in March the former US Open champion said playing at the Olympics again was motivating him during his rehabilitation.

However, since then progress has been slower than what Del Potro would have liked. As a result, he has been advised not to play in the event and continue his recovery.

Delpo won’t be able to play the Olympics Games. The knee rehab is going well according to the doctor’s plan but he suggested Juan Martin to go on with his rehab process and training, and skip Tokyo 2020,” a statement from Del Potro’s communication team reads.

Since 2010, the former world No.3 and two-time Olympic medallist has undergone eight surgeries.One on his right wrist, three on his left wrist and four on his knee. He has won a total of 22 ATP titles so far in his career.

The Olympic Tennis event will start on July 24th at the Ariake Coliseum.

RELATED STORY: Why Are So Many Tennis Players Skipping The Olympics?

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Dayana Yastremska Cleared Of Wrongdoing Over Failed Drugs Tests

The tennis has star had been provisionally suspended from the Tour since 7 January 2021.

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Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska said she looks forward to ‘returning to her passion’ after getting her doping ban lifted with immediate effect following a hearing.

 

The former world No.21 has been sidelined from the sport with a provisional suspension after testing positive for the banned substance mesterolone which is prohibited under category S1 of the 2020 WADA Prohibited List (Anabolic Agents). The positive test came from a sample which was taken on November 24th that Yastremska argued was linked to cross-contamination. She had appealed for her provisional ban to be lifted earlier this year but was denied.

Following her official hearing on May 21st, the Independent Tribunal under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme has concluded that the tennis star didn’t deliberately take performance enhancing drugs. In their ruling, the panel says they ‘accept’ how the substance managed to get into Yasstremska’s body. She has previously claimed to have ‘scientific evidence’ of cross contamination.

Ms. Yastremska’s provisional suspension is lifted with immediate effect, and she will not serve any period of Ineligibility for her violation. For the avoidance of doubt, Ms. Yastremska is eligible to resume competition immediately.” The ITF stated.

In a statement, Yastremska says she has struggled over the past six months with the negative comments related to her suspension from the sport. Earlier this year she flew to the Australian Open hoping to compete, but wasn’t allowed to under anti-doping rules.

“I’ve been through a lot in the last 6 months and found it difficult to deal with all the negative comments,” she wrote.
“I want to thank my family, my lawyers, my agent and the entire Top Five Management team for their continued and unwavering support. I would also like to thank my fans for the love and messages that I received during this difficult period.’
“Now I look forward to returning to my passion – tennis. It was taken away from me for too long, I can’t wait to get back on tour.”

The 21-year-old has won three WTA Premier titles so far in her career with her most recent triumph occurring at the 2019 Strasbourg Open. Her best run in a Grand Slam was two years ago at Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round before losing to Zhang Shuai of China.

Yastremska is currently ranked 37th in the world. She has not given any details about when or where she plans to return to competitive tennis yet.

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