Roberta Vinci beats Ekaterina Makarova in three sets to advance to the second round in Stuttgart - UBITENNIS
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Roberta Vinci beats Ekaterina Makarova in three sets to advance to the second round in Stuttgart

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Roberta Vinci edged past Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-4 after a hard-fought match after 2 hours and 23 minutes to reach the second round at the Porsche Indoor Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. Vinci will face a second round match against Julia Goerges who beat Alizé Cornet 6-4 6-0.

 

Both players traded breaks for four consecutive games. Makarova broke serve in the third game but Vinci broke straight back in the next game. The 2015 US Open finalist saved a break point with her backhand but Makarova took a break lead again in the fifth game. Vinci converted her second break point chance in the sixth game for 3-3 before consolidating her break to 15. Vinci earned three break point chances in the 8th game but Makarova held her serve for 4-4. Makarova did not convert a break point in the ninth game. The first set came down to the tie-break where Vinci raced out to a 5-3 lead before converting her first set point.

Vinci came back from 0-40 down in the first game to break serve in the first game of the second set. Makarova got the break back in the second game for 1-1. Vinci broke again in the third game and consolidated her break to open up a 3-1 lead. Makarova recovered from 15-40 in the sixth game to break serve at deuce to draw level to 3-3. The Russian player got her second consecutive break in the eighth game to win her fourth game in a row for 5-3. Vinci recovered from 0-30 in the ninth game by winning four consecutive points to get one break back for 4-5. Vinci dropped her serve to love as she was serving in the 10th game for 4-6. This was Makarova’s fourth break in the last five service games.

Vinci got the only break of the third set to 15 in the first game of the decider. The Italian never looked back and held her next service games and earned two match points at 40-15 in the 10th game. She sealed the 39-minute third set on her first opportunity with a down the line forehand.

Vinci hit 44 winners to 31 unforced errors, while Makarova struck 40 winners to 33 unforced errors. Vinci struck six aces, while Makarova made three double faults.

 

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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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