Grand Slam Champions Angelique Kerber, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Petra Kvitova highlight the Apia International in Sydney - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam Champions Angelique Kerber, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Petra Kvitova highlight the Apia International in Sydney

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Three two-time Grand Slam champions Svetlana Kuznetsova (defending champion), Petra Kvitova (2015 winner in Sydney) and Angelique Kerber (world number 1 and winner at the Australian Open and at the US Open in 2016) will highlight the Apia International in Sydney

 

Angelique Kerber will lead a star-studded line-up, which features defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who used the triumph in Sydney as a springboard to a highly-successful season, in which she won the Kremlin Cup title in Moscow to book a last-minute berth for the WTA Finals in Singapore. Kuznetsova, who won the US Open in 2004 and Roland Garros 2009, beat future Rio Olympic champion Monica Puig in this year’s Sydney final. The Russian player was outside the top 20 at the start of the season but a series of good results enabled her return to the top 10.

The 32-player field also includes Dominika Cibulkova, who won the WTA Finals in Singapore beating Angelique Kerber in the title match, 2013 Sydney champion Agnieszka Radwanska, 2016 US Open finalist and Davis Cup champion Karolina Pliskova, Johanna Konta, 2015 Sydney champion Petra Kvitova, this year’s Sydney finalist and olympic gold medallist Monica Puig, 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur, Carla Suarez Navarro, Elina Svitolina, Timea Bacsinszky, Elena Vesnina and Roberta Vinci, former world number 1 Caroline Wozniacki, Barbora Strykova. The tournament has offered one of the four wildcards to Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard, 2014 Wimbledon finalist.

Kvitova, twice winner at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, was unable to defend her 2015 Sydney title due to illness but will make her return in 2017 as a strong contender. Kvitova enjoyed a successful second half of the season in which she won the Olympic singles bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro, the WTA Premier tournament in Wuhan (after beating four top-10 players) and the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.

“Sydney is one of my favourite tournaments and I can’t wait to come back next year. Unfortunately I was not able to defend the title this year due to illness, so I am excited to get back out onto Ken Roswell Arena where I had so much success”, said Kvitova.

The Sydney tournament will be held the week before the Australian Open starting from 8th January.

“We are thrilled to once again welcome the world’s best female tennis players to Sydney in January. The women’s event has consistently been one of the most competitive on the WTA Tour and that is reflected in the calibre of athletes that choose to play our event. We are incredibly proud to be leading the way when it comes to celebrating and supporting women’s sport, with our financial commitment for the WTA event in 2017 topping $ 1 million for the second straght year”, said Sydney Tournament Director Alaistar McDonald.

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Richard Gasquet upsets Danil Medvedev in Geneva

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Richard Gasquet upset Danil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 (7-5) with three breaks of serve in 90 minutes to reach the second round at the Gonet Geneva Open. 

 

Gasquet scored his first win over an opponent ranked in the top 2 since he beat world number 1 Roger Federer at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2005. 

Medvedev had beaten Gasquet in their only previous head-to-head match at the 2021 US Open en route to his first Grand Slam title. 

Medvedev was playing his first match since Miami in March after undegoing hernia surgery.

Gasquet won six consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set and built up a 6-2 2-0 lead.  

Medveved dropped his serve after three double faults with three double faults. The Russian player broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 and held serve at love with an ace. 

Medvedev recovered from a mini-break down in the tie-break. Gasquet earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5. 

The Frenchman will face Kamil Majchrzak, who cruised past Marco Cecchinato 6-2 6-3.

Thanasi Kokkinakis earned his first win on clay in seven years with a 6-4 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini in 1 hour and 28 minutes. 

Kokkinakis went up a break to take a 4-1 lead. Fognini broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4.  Kokkinakis broke serve at love in the tenth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

Fognini made two double faults and missed three game points before dropping serve in the second game of the second set. Kokkinakis did not face any break points in his remaining four service games. 

Christopher O’Connell edged past Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to set up a second round match against Reilly Opelka. 

Paulo Sousa cruised past 2021 semifinalist Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-4. Sousa will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who was leading 6-4 before Facundo Bagnis retired from the match.

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Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery

The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’

 

Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.

“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,”
she added.

The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.

A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.

Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.

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Roger Federer’s Team8 Considering Bid To Buy Cincinnati Masters Rights From USTA

The potential move has gained support from one former world No.1 player who says ‘it is nice to see responsible names’ in the mix to buy the prestigious event.

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Roger Federer Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer (SUI) playing against Adrian Mannarino (FRA) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

It is understood that sports and entertainment company Team8 which was co-founded by Roger Federer is looking into potentially submitting an application for ownership of the Cincinnati Masters, according to two sources.

 

Sports business publication Sportico and Steve Weissman from The Tennis Channel have both reported that the business is among a number of interested parties who want to buy the event that is best known as the Western and Southern Open. In February this year it was confirmed that the USTA is selling their 93.8% stake in the tournament for a ‘nine-figure sum.’ It is understood that the organization doesn’t want the event to be relocated from Cincinnati in part of any deal.

“The USTA’s Board of Directors believes now is the right time to explore potential strategic options and alternatives in order to optimize the long-term growth of the tournament and take the tournament to the next level,” the USTA said in a statement published by tennis.com.

The USTA brought the rights to the men’s event back in 2009 for $12.5M and has since spent an additional $65M. Whilst Cincinnati is a combined tournament, the ongoing negotiations only apply to the men’s section. The women’s tournament is overseen by Octagon management.

Neither Federer or a member of Team8 have commented on the reported plans. The company was founded by the 20-time Grand Slam champion and his agent Tony Godsick back in 2013. Since then they have been involved in the creation of the Laver Cup, became a ‘major investor’ in the Universal Tennis system and are a ‘strategic investor and partner’ to On Running.

Should Team8 become the new owners, questions may arise about conflicts of interest with Federer still being an active player on Tour. The 40-year-old is currently sidelined from action due to a knee injury but is aiming to stage a comeback at the Swiss Open later this year. However, former world No.1 Andy Roddick has given his full backing to the possible takeover.

“In the world of tennis, where conflicts of interest know no bounds at all, Roger can do this. He has, obviously, been a great steward for the game and has created an incredible relationship with the fans in the city of Cincinnati. You’d like to see it stay in the tennis family with someone who actually knows and loves our sport.” Roddick told The Tennis Channel.

Federer has won the Cincinnati Masters a record seven times in his career.

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