Evergreen Francesca Schiavone Wins Rio Open and Breaks Back in The Top 100 - UBITENNIS
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Evergreen Francesca Schiavone Wins Rio Open and Breaks Back in The Top 100

Francesca Schiavone beat Shelby Rogers by 2-6 6-2 6-2 to win the 2016 Rio Open, her first WTA title since 2013. Next week the 2010 French Open champion will be back in the top 100.

Ivan Pasquariello

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Francesca Schiavone won her 7th WTA title in Rio de Janeiro, at her 18th final on the tour, beating American Shelby Rogers in three sets by 2-6 6-2 6-2. With this win, the first since 2013 for the 2010 French Open champion, Schiavone will climb back in the top 100 of the rankings becoming the second oldest top 100 player right after Venus Williams, who was born just 6 days before the Italian.

 

At her second WTA final, both conquered on clay, Rogers played a solid first set and was up a break in the second, but then surrendered to the Italian’s better physical condition.

THE MATCH

Rogers is the first player to see a chance to break serve, with Schiavone serving at 2-2 in the first set. The American stays aggressive, and manages to seize her opportunity right away, closing in at the net and winning the point with a backhand volley winner.

Serving at 3-2 Shelby holds serve easily once again, to build a 4-2 lead looking in control of the match. The young American then manages to break again, in the 7th game, after a stunning backhand down the line on which Schiavone can’t manage to create her web of defence. Coming to the net to put pressure on the Italian, Shelby gets another break and leads 5-2.

Shelby closes the first set by 6-2 after 31 minutes at her third set point chance, as Schiavone’s defensive backhand finds the net.

The American starts the second set with 2 chances to break Schiavone’s serve up 15-40. The Italian serves a double fault on the first break point and loses her opening service game.

Francesca sees her first break point in the match as Rogers serves a double fault at 30-30. Returning on the line, the 2010 French Open champions gets the break and screams in relief, setting the score tied at 1-1.

The Italian convincingly holds serve in the third game, to get back to the lead at 2-1.

 

 

As the rallies grow longer, Rogers starts to miss more shots. The American looking in confusion loses her serve for the second time in a row, missing a very easy smash wide. For the first time in the match, Schiavone is up a break 3-1.

 

The Italian swinging more freely closes the fifth game with an ace, to lead 4-1 in the second set, then 5-2. The American can’t control the rallies as she did in the first set and continues with her streak of unforced errors.

 

After more than one hour, Schiavone wins the second set 6-2, as Rogers misses two backhands long in a row from 30-30 sending the match to a decider.

 

Both players start the second set convincingly holding serve, Schiavone at love, Rogers at 15.

The American faces two break points in the fourth game when serving down 1-2, but saves both as the Italian fails to put pressure on the important moments. Shelby holds and shouts “C’Mon”.

Soon after, Francesca seizes her opportunity and breaks in the 6th game, with Rogers serving down 2-3. The Italian gets to 0-40 and then closes the game as Rogers tries a serve and volley approach, missing the forehand volley long.

 

The Italian on a roll closes the 7th game with an ace on the second serve and leads 5-2, assuring herself a chance to serve for the championship.

 

Finally, Schiavone breaks again and wins the match at her second championship point as Rogers hits another shot long.

 

It is the first WTA title for the evergreen Italian, who had last won a WTA title in 2013 in Marrakech.

The match stats:

With Schiavone’s win there are now 6 Italians holding a WTA title, one each.

 

 

 

 

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Tereza Martincova and Belinda Bencic reach the quarter final in Ostrava

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Czech wildcard Tereza Martincova upset Roland Garros Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) after 2 hours and 19 minutes to advance to the quarter finals at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. 

 

Martincova claimed her third top 20 win of her career and reached her second quarter final on home soil this season after finishing fourth in Prague. 

Pavlyuchenkova earned the first break to take a 4-3 lead and served for the first set in the 10th game, but she never reached a set point. The Russian player came just two points away from winning the first set at 5-4 30-15, but Martincova won four consecutive points before winning the tie-break 7-5. 

Martincova dropped just eight points in the first six games of the second set. The Czech player fended off two break points to consolidate her lead for 2-0. She raced out to a 7-6 (7-5) 5-1 lead, but Pavlyuchenkova saved two match points to hold serve forcing Martincova to serve for the match. Martincova dropped four consecutive points. Pavlyuchenkova got another break, when Martincova was serving for the match for the third time at 6-5. Martincova went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Pavlyuchenkova drew level to 4-4 before saving a third match point. Martincova won the final two points to claim the tie-break 8-6. 

Martincova set up a quarter final match against Maria Sakkari, who beat last week’s Luxembourg finalist Jelena Ostapenko. 

This year’s Olympic champion Belinda Bencic cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo in just 88 minutes. Bencic claimed her 15th win in her last 18 matches. Bencic broke six times and reeled off eight consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set to cruise through to a a straight-set win. Sorribes Tormo saved a break point to win her first game for 1-4 and pulled one break back in the sixth game, but Bencic sealed the win with her third break in the ninth game. “I think I prepared well for this match tactically, and also mentally, because it’s very tough. You have to win the point many times against her, especially on this surface, where it’s very slow. I am happy that I stayed disciplined for the whole match”, said Bencic. 

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Naomi Osaka Withdraws From Indian Wells, Unclear If She Will Play Again This Year

There is no official word but it looking increasingly likly that the world No.8 might have pulled the plug on her 2021 season.

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka has officially withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells just weeks after saying she will take a break from the sport due to personal reasons.

 

The former world No.1 hadn’t played a match since her loss to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open. Speaking to reporters in New York, Osaka said she didn’t know when she would play another match on the Tour. Earlier this year she opened up about her mental health struggles after revealing she has been suffering from social anxiety and depression. Osaka also took time away from the sport during the summer after pulling out of the French Open before deciding to skip Wimbledon.

“This is very hard to articulate. Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry,” she said following her loss to Fernandez.
“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while. How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.”

Osaka’s withdrawal from Indian Wells was confirmed by the tournament who published an announcement on social media. Although they didn’t specify what reason she used to withdraw from the tournament which is one of the biggest events outside of the Grand Slams in terms of ranking points and prize money on offer.

It was Indian Wells where Osaka won her first prestigious title back in 2018 after defeating Daria Kasatkina in straight sets. The following year she was the top seed in the draw but lost to Belinda Bencic in the fourth round.

There has been no official comment from Osaka or her team about Indian Wells and if she will play again this season. Although it looks increasingly unlikely. She is in with a chance of qualifying for the WTA Finals in November but even if she does make the cut it is unclear if she will attend the event which has been relocated from China to Mexico.

This year Indian Wells will get underway on October 4th which is more than six months later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Simona Halep Ends Six-Year Collaboration With Coach Cahill

One of the longest coaching partnerships on the WTA Tour has come to an end.

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Former world No.1 Simona Halep is on the lookout for a new coach after unexpectedly announcing her split from Darren Cahill on Wednesday.

 

The two-time Grand Slam champion has been working with the Australian mentor for most of the time since 2015. There was a brief period where Cahill stepped away from his duties to spend more time with his family before later returning. Under his guidance, the Romanian reached the top of the world rankings and featured in the final of three major tournaments, winning two of those.

“After six wonderful years working together, Darren Cahill and I have decided that it’s time to end our working relationship,” Halep wrote on social media. “Thank you D for everything, for making me a better tennis player and a better person.”

55-year-old Cahill is a former player himself who has also worked with a series of top players prior to Halep. In the past, he has coached both Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi to world No.1 at different stages of their careers. Doubles specialist Horia Tecău reportedly told Romanian TV that it was rumoured Cahill received an annual salary in the region of one million euros during his time with Halep. Although this has not been verified.

The announcement comes a week after Halep married Macedonian businessman Toni Iuruc. One of those who attended the event was Illie Nastase who was one of the world’s best tennis players during the 1970s, winning both the French Open and US Open.

I didn’t know anything about Simona’s intention to break up with Darren Cahill. It took me a little by surprise. But Simona Halep has proven she knows what she’s doing. As I did not know, I do not see what I could comment. But there is no question of collaborating (with her),” Nastase told playsport.ro.
I didn’t talk to her about this or to anyone else in her entourage… I think only Simona knows who her future coach will be. I trust her choices.”

So far in 2021 Halep has achieved a win-loss record of 15-7 during what has been a rollercoaster season. An Achilles injury forced her to miss both the French Open and Wimbledon, as well as the Tokyo Olympics. Since returning to the Tour from her injury she has won back-to-back matches in one out of three tournaments played. Reaching the fourth round of the US Open.

There has been no official word on who may replace Cahill as Halep’s coach.

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