It was a quick evening on Stadium 1, with each match going by in two straightforward sets.
Madison Keys’s comeback continued with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Naomi Osaka, and Gael Monfils ended American John Isner’s tournament with a 6-2, 6-4 display.
Fans had high expectations heading into the WTA match, as Osaka and Keys had played a crazy one in the 2016 U.S. Open that wound up being decided in a third-set tiebreak.
Wait. Osaka vs Keys? pic.twitter.com/hsFNbmMWJW
— I Sing Off Key On The Record (@MrProdigy555) March 13, 2017
Monday’s match, though, was way more one-sided. Keys won the first five games, breaking Osaka’s serve twice. The first break came in Game 2, when Keys, up 30-40, hit an aggressive inside-out forehand return winner. The second came in Game 4 on a backhand winner.
Down 0-5, Osaka finally got a game, avoiding the bagel by holding at love on a missed backhand from Keys. Still, Keys won the next game to take the set 6-1 in just 19 minutes.
The start of the second set did not look any better for the Japanese teenager. A double fault and three missed forehands gave Keys an unnecessary head start. Then the American went up 2-0 by bullying Osaka with her serve.
After that point, it turned into a highly competitive tennis match. Osaka had numerous chances to tie the set up, but as well as Osaka played, Keys’ strokes were better. The No. 9 seed won the set 6-4 with an ace up the T.
In the round of 16, Keys will take on No. 13 seed Caroline Wozniacki.
— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) March 14, 2017
On the ATP side, the American and Frenchman went into the match 4-4 against one another. But the John Isner who showed up to play was not the John Isner American tennis fans are used to seeing. The big man had his serve broken three times in two sets.
The first of the breaks came at 1-1 in the opening set. Isner found himself down 15-40. He saved the first break point by popping a big serve. But on the next one, he missed a forehand wide, challenged and lost.
Isner, in his subsequent service game, trailed 0-40. He stole two points with a forehand winner down the line and an unreturned serve, but on the third, he double-faulted, putting Monfils up 4-1.
Isner, who was an Indian Wells finalist in 2012, never found his way back into the set. Monfils won it 6-2.
At 1-1 in the second, Monfils had to play dodgeball on errant Isner volley.
At 2-2, Isner gave Monfils a break point by missing a forehand into the net. He then lost the break point by netting a forehand volley.
It was all holds from there on out, and Monfils took the set 6-4.
Monfils’s next opponent will be Dominic Thiem, who beat Jeremy Chardy and Mischa Zverev en route to the fourth round.
Svetlana Kuznetsova Wins First Title Since Return From Surgery In Washington
The two-time grand slam champion has returned back to the winners circle following her six-month absence due to injury.
Former world No.2 Svetlana Kuznetsova saved four match points to defeat Donna Vekic 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, in the final of the Citi Open in Washington.
Kuznetsova, 33, fought back against the aggressive play of her opponent. Saving seven out of the 10 break points she faced in the match. Eventually, it was the experience of the Russian that guided her to the finish line as she hit 34 winners to 36 unforced errors to win her first title on the tour since the 2016 Moscow Open.
“It was a difficult week,” Kuznetsova reflected afterwards. “Tennis is always mental, if you lose or if you win, you always gotta stay focused.”
With both players contesting their first final of the season, it was Vekic who battled through what was a roller-coaster and tense opening set. At first, the seventh seed appeared on course to clinch the opener with ease after breaking Kuznetsova in the fourth game as she raced out to a 4-1 lead. Only to be pegged by the 2014 champion. Serving for the set at 5-3, a forehand error rewarded Kuznetsova the chance to break back. Prior to the following point, the Russian complained about the movement of the crowd just as Vekic was about to serve. Then the Croat hit a double fault with the two players exchanging words at the changeover.
Despite feeling hard done by, Vekic soon restored order in the match. As Kuznetsova served for a chance to level 5-5, she pounced one again as the former world No.2 faltered. Recovering from a 15-40 deficit to seal the opening set with the help of a Kuznetsova double fault on set point.
Vekic continued to fight with the help of her of some rapid shock-making. Fending off a break point to nudge ahead 4-3 in the second set. Although Kuznetsova refused to go away. Saving two match points, it was in the tiebreaker where the Russian managed to turn her fortunes around. Vekic missed out on another two chances to win the match, allowing Kuznetsova to nudge ahead 8-7. She was then able to force proceedings into a decider after a Vekic forehand slammed into the net.
Kuznetsova’s resilience eventually wore her opponent down, who was close to tears after the match. Vekic admitted afterwards that she was dealing with leg pain and took a medical time out just before the start of the final set.
A double break in Kuznetsova’s favor in the decider guided her to a 5-0 lead. Enough of a cushion to enable her to close out the match after two-and-a-half hours of play to win her second Washington title.
“I know I’ve been a little bit lucky today,” she said.
“There’s something going on with Washington. I never lose here. I played two times and I won both.”
The victory comes after what has been a testing first half of the year for Kuznetsova. Left wrist surgery forced her to miss six months of the tour. Meaning that she didn’t start the 2018 season until March. Prior to the Citi Open, she had only won four matches in 10 tournaments played. Making her latest triumph even more special.
“Those times I had after the surgery, I had difficulties everywhere — personal, working different things. I switched coaches. I had lots of issues,” Kuznetsova explained. “But still, I rise again, and it’s really good for me.”
As a result of her latest win, Kuznetsova has risen 41 places in 87th in the world. Meanwhile, Vekic has jumped seven places to 37th.
Davis Cup Reforms Face Late Opposition As Vote Looms
The proposed Davis Cup reforms have received strong criticism from Tennis Australia and Tennis Europe ahead of this month’s vote.
The upcoming Davis Cup reform vote has received some strong opposition and criticism from Tennis Australia and Tennis Europe.
The vote is set to take place on the 16th of August, where federations will vote to change the 118 year old format to a one week season finale at the end of the year. The proposed move by Kosmos, has received fierce criticism and will need a two-thirds majority in order for it to be approved.
However with the vote just two weeks away Tennis Australia has been among the federations to oppose these reforms and have pushed this even further as they have wrote a letter expressing their discontent at the idea. The letter has been signed by the likes of John Newcombe, current Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.
The letter raises the following concerns, “We have written and spoken to the ITF President for several months now requesting clarity on the proposal from Kosmos, but this has not been forthcoming,” explained the letter, which is even signed by former ITF president Brian Tobin.
“Very large numbers are being referenced, but there is not enough detail to give us confidence this proposal will genuinely deliver enough additional value to players and the nations to offset the loss of home and away camaraderie and all the local marketing, facility investment and player development benefit that comes with those ties. In the absence of such important information, we have no choice other than to vote against the proposed amendments.”
However Tennis Australia isn’t the only federation to be against this move as Tennis Europe, who represent more than 50 member nations have also expressed their concern at the idea, “I am particularly concerned that there is hardly any information received from the ITF regarding bank guarantees for the proposed US$120 million per year which would be the $3 billion deal over 25 years, according to the original proposal,” President Vladimir Dimitriev explained in a separate letter.
“I have not yet seen a final and feasible explanation on how the business model or the governance structure will be either.”
The ITF do have the backing of Germany and France ahead of the move though with the AGM meeting set to take place in Orlando, Florida between the 13th and 16th of August.
Serena Williams Withdraws From Montreal Due To Personal Reasons
Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Coupe Rogers in Montreal next week due to personal reasons.
Former world number one Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Coupe Rogers in Montreal next week as she deals with some personal issues.
The American suffered the worst defeat of her career last week when she lost 6-1 6-0 to Johanna Konta in San Jose. The 23 grand slam champion clearly wasn’t at her best and it now turns out that she had personal problems to deal with as this is the reason for her withdrawal in Montreal next week.
The recent Wimbledon finalist also felt that she could not play Montreal and Cincinnati in back to back weeks as she continues her comeback from pregnancy. The tournament director, Eugene Lapierre, admits that he is disappointed but still recognises the high quality field that is left, “Of course, we are disappointed that Serena will not be joining us, Fans were very much looking forward to seeing her in action,” explained Eugene.
“But beyond the disappointment, the tournament, as a whole, remains a high-level competition. The entire Top 10 is here, along with 22 of the Top 25. There are exciting matches in store from the outset.”
The American was set to play in Canada for the first time since 2015 before withdrawing today. The 23 time grand slam champion has played five events since returning from pregnancy and the results have been mixed as you can see below:
Indian Wells – Third Round
Miami – First Round
Roland Garros – Fourth Round
Wimbledon – Final
San Jose – First Round
Tatjana Maria will now replace Serena Williams in the main draw and the German faces Alize Cornet in the first round.
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