Roberta Vinci wins her first match as a top-10 player, as Sara Errani fights back from a set down to edge Tsvetana Pironkova - UBITENNIS
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Roberta Vinci wins her first match as a top-10 player, as Sara Errani fights back from a set down to edge Tsvetana Pironkova

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Roberta Vinci dropped just three games to beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 6-1 in her first match as a top-10 player to set up a tough second round match against Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina in the WTA Premier 5 in Doha.

 

Vinci, the oldest WTA player ever to break the top 10 for the first time in her career, got off to a good start earning four break points but Tsurenko saved them with her serve. The first set went on serve until the fifth game when World Number 10 Vinci broke for the first time in the match as Tsurenko made a double fault. Vinci got the double break in the seventh game with a forehand passing shot before closing out on the first set point after 33 minutes. Vinci was perfect on her service games during a solid first set.

Tsurenko held her serve for the first time in the first game of the second set but Vinci got two consecutive breaks in the third game at deuce and in the fifth game to love to cruise to 4-1. Vinci closed out 6-1 on her second set point as Tsurenko hit her forehand into the net.

Sara Errani fought back from a set down to edge past Tsvetana Pironkova 1-6 7-5 6-3. Pironkova converted her second break point chance in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Errani looked tired after clinching her first WTA Premier title in Dubai last Saturday and dropped her serve for the second time in the sixth game to trail 1-5. Pironkova rallied from 0-30 by winning four consecutive points to hold her serve and wrapped up the opening set 6-1 after 28 minutes.

Errani bounced back by breaking serve twice to race out to 4-0. Pironkova reeled off four consecutive games to draw level to 4-4. Errani faced a break point but she saved it with a forehand inside-out to win a crucial ninth game. Errani got the break in a hard-fought 12th game to win the 1-hour and 6-minute second set by 7-5

Errani carried the momentum into the third set and earned a break point in the second game but she did not converti t as she hit a backhand into the net. Errani broke serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead as Pironkova hit her forehand wide. Pironkova broke straight back in the fifth game. Errani got a decisive break to love in the 8th game. Pironkova rallied from 0-40 down in the final game to draw level to 40-40. After a thrilling ninth game Errani closed out a hard-fought match on the fifth match point after a 46-minute third set.

Daria Gavrilova dropped just two games to breeze aside Misaki Doi 6-1 6-1. Denisa Allertova knocked out Elina Svitolina 7-5 6-4 Russian qualifier Elena Vesnina upset Caroline Garcia  6-3 7-5. Monica Niculescu cruised through Sabine Lisicki 6-2 6-2. Caroline Wozniacki fought back from a set down to battle past Ana Konjuh 4-6 6-3 7-5. Timea Babos also rallied from a set down to take a three-set win over Madison Brengle by 3-6 7-5 6-0.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova Becomes Latest Grand Slam Winner To Skip US Open Over Virus Fears

Nine top 40 players on the WTA Tour have now pulled out of the Grand Slam.

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This year’s US Open has taken another blow with their 2004 women’s champion pulling out of the event due to what she describes as an ‘unfavourable situation.’

 

Svetlana Kuznetsova has become the latest figure in the sport to pull out of the New York major amid concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic in America. The country has recently seen a spike in cases but in New York itself the levels haven’t been as high. Although officials at the tournament are taking no chances with fans being banned for attending for the first time in history and players are being kept in what is being described as a ‘bubble.’

Despite assurances from the United States Tennis Association, who runs the US Open, Kuznetsova still has her concerns. In a statement published on her Instagram account, the Russian said the pandemic has made it too complex for her to travel to the region. Citing the restrictions placed on players with how many members of their team they are allowed to bring with them.

Due to an unfavourable situation caused by coronavirus, and therefore the inability get together all my team I made a difficult decision to refuse to participate in Cincinnati and the US Open,” the world No.32 wrote.
“I feel very sad, because I have been waited for these tournaments so much, but the pandemic changes all plans.’
“I hope the situation will be more positive by the next tournaments.”

It will be only the second time Kuznetsova has missed the US Open since making her main draw debut back in 2002. She also missed the 2012 event due to a knee injury. Overall, she won 35 out of 51 matches played in Flushing Meadows.

Another player skipping the event is Barbora Strycova, who is currently playing in the Prague Open. The Czech is a two-time doubles semi-finalist at the US Open with her best run in the singles being to the third round.

Following the latest developments, nine players out of the current top 40 on the women’s Tour have officially pulled out of the US Open. Including top 10 players Ash Barty (No.1), Elina Svitoliva (No.5) and Kiki Bertens (No.7). Meanwhile, Simona Halep is yet to make a final decision about her plans.

There are also notable absences in the men’s field with reigning champion Rafael Nadal and former winner Stan Wawrinka both opting to miss the event due to concerns related to COVID-19. Novak Djokovic is also yet to confirm is he will play or not.

The US Open will get underway on August 31st.

List of women’s singles player withdrawals (as of 10/8/20)

1 Ash Barty AUS
5 Elina Svitolina UKR
7 Kiki Bertens NED
29 Qiang Wang CHN
30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS
31 Barbora Strycova CZE
32 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS
34 Saisai Zheng CHN
38 Julia Goerges GER
74 Lin Zhu CHN
85 Anastasia Potapova RUS
92 Ana Bogdan ROM
97 Sam Stosur AUS
103 Shuai Peng CHN
108 Xiyu Wang CHN
118 Barbora Krejcikova CZE

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Eugenie Bouchard wins her first clay match since 2018 in Prague

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Former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard won her first clay match since Gstaad 2018 by beating number 8 seed Veronika Kudemertova 6-0 6-3 in the first round at the Prague Open. 

 

Bouchard broke three times in a row to take a bagel win in the first set in half an hour, although four of the six games went to deuce. 

Bouchard saved a break point in the first game to hold her serve at deuce and earned her only break to win the second set 6-3. 

“I feel like that the first set was tough in almost every game. It’s not like it was a walk in the park. I am proud of myself for battling in every single game. It ended up going my way most of the time. I stayed on every point and did not make too many loose errors. I played solid and aggressive, which is what I try to aim for. My rhythm was off on my serve in the first set, so I need to look at that. I felt better with it in the second set, so I am happy I could find a solution. It’s hard to know what to expect. I have not played a real match since January. I have played a couple of exhibitions, which helped a lot, but it’s still different. It’s not a real tournament. I did not set any expectations”, said Bouchard. 

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Simona Halep ‘Happy To Be Back’ Amid Uncertainty Over US Open Plans

The Romanian still has reservations about her future plans after taking her first international flight in five months.

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World No.2 Simona Halep admits the prospect of travelling from Europe to America will be ‘mentally tough’ as she ponders whether or not to play at the US Open.

 

The reigning Wimbledon champion is set to return to competitive tennis in the Czech Republic where she will play her first tournament in five months at the Prague Open. Halep was originally due to make her return in Palermo but withdrew from the event due to ‘travelling anxiety’ despite being assured she wouldn’t have to go through quarantine. Speculation has mounted in recent weeks about if the Romanian would travel to the US Open later this year with the 28-year-old confirming she will make her final decision after Prague.

“I haven’t made the final decision yet,” AFP quoted Halep as telling reporters during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“The travelling from Europe is a little bit tough with changing flights — we don’t have straight flights — so it’s going to be tough for me personally, mentally,” she told a video conference.
“I don’t want to put myself into that stress. As I said I haven’t decided yet, but the conditions are tough for me at this moment.”

Three members of the top 10 on the women’s Tour have already pulled out of the New York major, which will be played behind closed doors for the first time in history. Ash Barty, Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina have all withdrawn from the major due to concerns. In comparison, only one member of the top 10 on the men’s Tour, Rafael Nadal, has withdrawn specifically related to COVID-19 concerns.

Prague is Halep’s first international trip after being in lockdown in Romania since February. A country which reported 1,378 new coronavirus cases and 50 new related deaths on Friday in what was their highest 24-hour figure since the pandemic began.

“I’m a bit nervous but things are very controlled here and very safe so I feel safe,” she said upon arrival in the Czech capital.
“I’m happy to be back, I’m happy to be healthy.”

It will be double duty for Halep in Prague. Besides being the top seed in the singles draw, she will also be playing the doubles alongside local favourite Barbora Strycova. Who reached the semi-final of Wimbledon last year before losing to Serena Williams. It is the first time ever the two are playing alongside each other on the Tour.

“I’m sure we will have fun. I’m sure that she will understand if I miss easy balls at the net, and I hope we’ll enjoy it.” Halep commented on their collaboration.

Halep will start her singles campaign against Slovenia’s Polona Hercog.

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