Dominic Thiem edges Benoit Paire in four sets to reach the fourth round in the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem edges Benoit Paire in four sets to reach the fourth round in the Australian Open

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Thiem is the first Austrian since Jurgen Melzer to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open (Zimbio.com)

Austrian eighth seed Dominic Thiem moved into the fourth round of the Australian Open after he edged mercurial Frenchman Benoit Paire 61 46 64 64 early on Saturday.

 

Thiem had dropped a set in each of his two rounds against Jan-Lennard Struff and Jordan Thompson respectively, and continued the trend in his match with the Frenchman.

Thiem came out and started strongly, breaking Paire in his first service game, and then holding for a three-love lead. Paire at least got on the board, but Thiem added a second break for a one-sided first set.

Paire rarely plays a match against a big player without finding at least some form, and so it proved it the second, the Frenchman improving to take care of matters on his own serve, and then break late in the set to level the scores.

However, Thiem’s backhand kicked into gear in the third all it took was for the Frenchman to go absent in one service game, and the Austrian led by two-sets-to-one. Thiem broke in the first game of the fourth, when Paire played an ill-advised drop shot into the net. Paire showed some mettle though, rattling off the next three games, looking to force a fifth and deciding set. Thiem’s retrieved the break, but immediately handed it back yet again, with a poor smash off of a relatively short defensive shot from Paire contributing to a poor game from the Austrian.

Paire just could not keep his consistency either though, and Thiem was once again back on serve. It was the Austrian who then broke again, to serve for the match. He helped Paire back into the game at deuce, but eventually sealed the win when Paire could only push a service return into the tramlines.

Thiem betters his result from last year, where he went out in third round. For Paire, he earns eighty points because he had lost in the first round last year.

Thiem will face David Goffin in the fourth round after the Belgian sealed a little piece of history. The eleventh seed defeated the 6’11 Ivo Karlovic 63 62 64, giving a master-class in how to break a big-server regularly. The win was rather easier than Goffin’s five-set marathon in the first round against American qualifier Reilly Opelka, who is also 6’11. Goffin becomes the first player to defeat both these players in the same grand slam tournament.

Though Karlovic had won his second round in straight sets, he had played a first round match against Horacio Zeballos that had lasted more than five hours, and it could easily have had an effect on the thirty-eight year-old twentieth seed. Reaching the third round represents a good effort for the big-serving veteran.

Goffin owns a narrow head-to-head lead against Thiem, leading 4-3, including a four-set win against the Austrian in the Australian Open last year in the third round. Thiem levelled the head-to-head in grand slam tournaments by winning at Roland Garros, also in four, en route to his first grand slam semi-final.

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Barty’s father said that her daughter was sad and wanted to step away from tennis in 2014

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Ashleigh Barty rose up the ranking sas a teenager after finishing runner-up at three Grand Slam doubles tournaments with Australian veteran Casey Dellacqua at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2013. The Aussie team also won one title at the Birmingham Classic. Barty decided to step away from tennis in 2014 to play women’s cricket and started playing for the Western Suburbs Cricket Club, a local team that competes in Brisbane Women’s Premier Cricket Twenty League.

 

“It was too much too quickly for me as I have been travelling from quite a young age. I wanted to experience life as a normal teenaged girl and have some normal experiences”, said Barty at that time.

 Ashleigh’s said during a webinar organised by the Active SG Voyager Tennis Academy that he was not surprised when his daughter decided to step away from the sport after the 2014 US Open.

“Ash was sad all the time. She was not herself on the court. I said to my wife that we had just got to make sure that Ashleigh was happy. Her happiness was more important. Were we disappointed ? Of course we were, because we love watching tennis and we were hooked on tennis. To see Ash happy and see her around her sisters and having fun again was so much better than having her miserable and going out and playing tennis”, said Rob Barty.

Barty started her 2019 season with a runner-up finish to Petra Kvitova in Sydney. The Aussie player reached her first quarter final at the Australian Open, where she beat Maria Sharapova before losing again to Kvitova. Barty won her first maiden Premier Mandatory title in Miami and claimed her first Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros. Barty became the first Australian player to win at Roland Garros since Margaret Court in 1973.

Barty followed up her Roland Garros with a back-to-back title in Birmingham on grass. She has become the second Australian player to be number 1 in the WTA Ranking since Evonne Goolagong Cawley. Barty’s winning streak came to end when she was beaten by Alison Riske in the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Barty reached the semifinal in Wuhan before winning the WTA Finals in Shenzhen beating Elina Svitolina in the final. Barty finished the season as the world number 1. Last January she started the 2020 season with a title in Adelaide before losing to eventual champion Sofia Kenin in the semifinal at the Australian Open. During her career Barty clinched eight singles titles and ten doubles titles.

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Juan Martin Del Potro Splits From Coach

The tennis star has announced a big change to his team.

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Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro is on the hunt for a new coach after agreeing to end his collaboration with Sebastian Prieto to continue focus on his rehabilitation from injury.

 

Del Potro has been working alongside Prieto since 2017 and achieved a series of career milestones under his guidance. Including winning his maiden Masters 1000 title at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open and reaching a ranking high of third in August that same year. Their decision has been made to allow Prieto to focus all of his attention on Juan Londero. Another Argentine player who is currently ranked 62nd in the world.

“I want to share that I have agreed with Sebastian Prieto to end our partnership, so that he can work with Juan Londero, while I continue my rehab process,” Del Potro said on Twitter.
“I’m very thankful to Piper for all of these years together. He is a great coach and even a better person. All the best!”

45-year-old Prieto is a former ATP player who peaked at a ranking high of 22nd in the doubles. During his career, he won 10 Tour titles with all of those occurring on the clay. He also reached the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles tournament at the 2003 French Open.

It is currently unknown as to who will be taking over as Del Potro’s new coach. The former grand slam champion hasn’t played a competitive match since last June due to a serious knee injury. At the Fever-Tree Championships in London, he fractured his right kneecap and was forced to undergo surgery to repair it. The second time he had to undergo that procedure within as many years after also suffering a similar injury at the 2018 Shanghai Rolex Masters.

Del Potro is currently undergoing rehabilitation and it is unclear as to when he will be able to return to the Tour again. All professional tennis tournaments have been either suspended or cancelled until at least July 31st due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although both the US Open and French Open are hoping to go ahead as planned.

So far in his career, the 31-year-old has won 22 ATP titles and earned almost $26 million in prize money. Earning more money than any other player from his country in the history of the sport.

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Former No.1 Karolina Pliskova Hits Out At Men Worrying About Equal Pay In Tennis

The world No.4 explains why she personally doesn’t want equal pay on the tour, but criticises those who worry that women players might do so in the future.

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Czech tennis star Karolina Pliskova has labelled men who voice opposition against equal pay as ‘super weak’ as she becomes the latest player to throw her backing behind the possibility of a merger of the two premier tennis Tour’s.

 

Pliskova, who is a former US Open finalist, spoke out about the topic when questioned by the PA Press Agency. In recent weeks there has been growing calls for the ATP and WTA to be merged into one. Support for the idea gained momentum when Roger Federer tweeted his support for it. However the heads of the two governing bodies have already been in discussions about working closer together in some capacity since the start of this year.

Although the prospect of a merger remains low due to the complex process that it would involve, both the ATP and WTA have vowed greater collaboration to help enhance the future of the sport. One of the main talking points behind the calls is pay. There is equal prize money at all of the grand slams, however, it does differ behind the men and women on the Tour. Last year six men earned more than $7 million in prize money compared to one on the WTA Tour (Ash Barty).

Weighing in on the topic, Pliskova has interestingly said that she is not interested in campaigning for her to be paid similar to her male counterparts. Arguing that the two genders should not be compared. However, she has voiced her frustration at those who are against the concept of equal pay.

“I don’t think so and I am not the one who wants it. But I don’t like the men who are complaining that we would get the same money. I think it is super weak from them that they complain we have the same money as them,” she said.
“The only time it is true is at grand slams. I understand they play longer, but they are men. They are stronger than us. I don’t see the reason why we should compare each other. I don’t need to have the same prize money as men. But to have the same chance to play on centre court or to have the same chance to be on TV, that should be possible with these changes.”

As of March 20th Pliskova has made $19,997,689 in prize money throughout her career, which is the 19th highest tally in the history of women’s tennis.

Speaking more specifically about a possible merger, the 28-year-old believes it would help enhance the women’s tour. Although she is staying cautious about the prospect of such a thing happening in the future.

“I think for the women’s tour it can only help. I don’t know exactly what they are discussing but if there is any chance to say yes, then I would say yes,” Pliskova said.
“It needs to be positive also for the ATP so they need to find a balance so it is a forward step for both. It might take a couple of years to get going. It will be different, but I don’t think for the players it would change that much. It would be a good step.”

Pliskova is currently ranked third in the WTA rankings and has won 16 WTA titles. She is set to return to action next week at the LiveScore Cup in Prague.

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