WTA Charleston: Samantha Stosur Breezes Past Jelena Jankovic, Dark Day For Americans - UBITENNIS
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WTA Charleston: Samantha Stosur Breezes Past Jelena Jankovic, Dark Day For Americans

6th seed Samantha Stosur overcame the 2-7 head-to-head against Jelena Jankovic to get her first win over the Serb since 2010, and advance to the Round of 16 at the Volvo Car Open.

Jakub Bobro

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Stosur Beats Out Jankovic

 

In this night session between former champions at Charleston, 6th seed Samantha Stosur met former World No. 1 Jelena Jankovic. This match was a replay of the 2010 Roland Garros semifinal, this time on green clay. Stosur was given a bye in the first round, whereas Jankovic defeated Alexandrova 6-0 6-4. Jankovic came out with a heavily taped thigh and Stosur immediately took notice. Among her many long sliced backhands, she mixed in a drop shot in almost every other rally. This tactic worked brilliantly, and the Australian took the first set 6-1 in just 24 minutes. Beginning of the second set, Jankovic learned to anticipate Stosur’s drop shots, and dominated the game from the baseline. Jankovic also took advantage of her signature shot- backhand down the line. Jankovic took a lead of 3-1, but Stosur started to play her game again and Jankovic slowly fell apart, getting angry with herself, the umpire and everyone else. Stosur won 6-1 6-3 and advances to the Round of 16 against 10th seed Irina-Camelia Begu or Kristina Kucova.

Blast From The Past

34 year-old Anastasia Rodionova has prolonged her surprise singles run in Charleston by one more, defeating Ying-Ying Duan of China 7-6(3) 6-1. The former World No. 62 has played very few singles matches and become more of a doubles specialist in the recent years. Despite her low ranking, Rodionova was well known, actually notorious for her on-court antics and behavior towards other players. This was the third qualifying event Rodionova has entered this year, getting a 1-2 record before Charleston. She defeated seeded opponents in Sachia Vickery and Sesil Karatantcheva, getting through in straight sets. Now she is through to the 2nd round in Charleston, set to face Former World No. 5 Sara Errani. In May, the Australian will celebrate the 20th anniversary since turning pro, and this might be her last notable run at the WTA level in singles.

Dark Day For Americans

Out of the 9 Americans that stepped on court today, only 2 came out victorious, the most notable loser being 14th seed Lauren Davis. Davis has had a great year so far, getting her first title in Auckland, reaching quarterfinals at both Doha and Dubai, and most recently Round of 16 at Indian Wells. This is combined with some lows, like her first round losses at Australian Open and Miami to Samantha Crawford and Varvara Lepchenko. In Charleston, Davis lost to Maria Sakkari of Greece, 5-7 4-6.

Charleston native Shelby Rogers managed to grind out a win for the home crowd against the qualifier Victoria Cepede Royg. The match was interrupted yesterday by the rain, and Cepede Royg came out of the gates stronger today. The Paraguayan developed a lead of 5-1, which was then taken back by Rogers and the first set headed to a tiebreak. The American made several unforced errors on the return, costing her the set. Rogers then found a way to outplay Cepede Royg, and she was up 6-7(1) 6-3 5-1, and it seemed all over. Suddenly, all of Cepede Royg’s flat shots starting to go in, and she managed to put up an incredible fight. Rogers served for the match three times, failing all of them. Match came down to a tiebreak, which was on an incredibly high level, especially for two players outside of the Top 50. Rogers won the tiebreak 8-6, advancing to the second round after 2 hour and 42 minutes.

In an all-American derby, wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated qualifer Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-4 in a battle of generations. Kenin was up a break in the second set, and overall showed great promise for the future. Mattek-Sands now set up a match with her doubles partner and good friend Lucie Safarova.

Varvara Lepchenko tried to beat 15th seed Lucie Safarova, and made the Czech come up with her best game to beat her after 2 hours and 52 minutes. Lepchenko took an odd 10 minute off-court break between the second and third set, which particularly baffled Tennis Channel commentator Tracy Austin, who called out for a rule restricting off-court breaks between sets. Safarova came out of this battle of lefties 7-5 6-7(6) 6-3 and will face Mattek-Sands.

Qualifier and birthday girl Asia Muhammad didn’t give herself the ideal gift today as she lost to Hungarian teenager Fanny Stollar 3-6 5-7. With a similar scoreline exited Jennifer Brady, who lost to Mona Barthel 5-7 4-6.

20 year-old Louisa Chirico most likely entered Charleston with an injury, as she lost 9 straight games before retiring to Annika Beck at 0-6 0-3. Lucky loser Grace Min didn’t take advantage of this opportunity as she lost 1-6 1-6 in little over an hour to Sara Errani of Italy. However, this is a slight improvement for the American, as in their last meeting, Errani won 6-1 6-0.

Other Results

In other results, 3 of the remaining 4 seeds advanced, 12th seed Yulia Putintseva being the one who lost. It was an awkward situation, as Putintseva was up 4-0 in the final set before the rain delay. Today, she lost six straight games to Magda Linette, subsequently opting out of the post-match handshake. The head-to-head now goes to 3-0 for Linette, despite their large gap in ranking. 13th seed Shuai Zhang took care of business against Misaki Doi on the green clay, winning 6-2 6-1. In a meeting of two players who are still finding their form in 2017, 10th seed Irina-Camelia Begu went 6-0 6-0 over Cagla Buyukakcay, making her record 3-9 this year. Buyukakcay is still winless, now falling to 0-11 counting Fed Cup. She is also going to defend her title in Istanbul, so it doesn’t look good for the Turkish No. 1. 11th seed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni outlasted qualifier Aleksandra Krunic in three sets 6-1 4-6 6-3, making their head-to-head 1-2.

Unseeded Daria Kasatkina got a good start to her tournament, beating Danka Kovinic 6-1 6-2. In the longest match of the day, Slovakian Kristina Kucova outlasted qualifier Silvia Soler-Espinosa 5-7 7-5 7-6(2) after 3 hours and 10 minutes. Kucova will face 10th seed Begu next.

WTA

Indian Wells voted as the best WTA Premier Mandatory Tournament of the 2019 season

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The tournament awards are broken down into four categories, according to the four different levels of WTA Tournaments.

 

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells has been voted as the winner of the Tournament of the Year Award in the WTA Premier Mandatory category for the sixth consecutive year and the 11th time overall.

Dubai was voted as the winner in the WTA Premier 5 Category. There were two ties in the WTA Premier category and in the WTA International categories.

St. Petersburg won the WTA Premier Award fo the second consecutive year, while Stuttgart received this award for the 10th time.

Auckland won the WTA International category Award for the fourth time, while Acapulco received this accolade for the 12th time.

Petra Kvitova received the Karen Krantzcke Sportmanship Award for the seventh straight year and the eighth time overall. The list of past winners of this Award features Kim Clijsters, Elena Dementieva, Ana Ivanovic, Lindsay Davenport, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong-Cawley. The Karen Krantzcke Sportmaship Award is presented to the player, who observes the rules of fair play, shows respect for others and is gracious on and off the court.

“Receiving this award for the eighth consecutive year makes me very proud and means so much for me. Being recognized by my colleagues for sportsmanship and fair play is an honour as I always pride myself on treating my opponents with respect. I hope to inspire the future generations to love the sport of tennis as much as I do”, said Kvitova.

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Carla Suarez Navarro Set For One Last Season As A Player

The former top 10 player has outlined her retirement plans for 2020 as she embarks upon a farewell tour.

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Next year will be the final time tennis fans will see Carla Suarez Navarro on the tour after the Spaniard announced her retirement on Tuesday.

 

The former world No.6 confirmed her future plans during a press conference in Barcelona. She will play one full season in 2020 before walking away from the sport after playing for more than 10 years on the WTA Tour. Suarez Navarro is currently the second highest ranked female tennis player from Spain after Garbine Muguruza and is currently 55th in the world.

“The 2020 season will be my last year in the professional tennis circuit,” wtatennis.com quoted the 31-year-old as saying. “The sport has been a fundamental part of my life – it has given me immense joy and I cannot be more grateful for all the experiences that it has allowed me to live. At this time, I notice that the time has come to complete a beautiful chapter and begin to enjoy other areas of life. Tennis will always be in me.”

Known for her one-handed backhand shot, which is a rare occurrence in the women’s game, Suarez Navarro has enjoyed a successful career since her breakthrough in 2008. The year when she reached the quarter-finals of the French Open as a qualifier. During her career, she claimed two WTA titles with the biggest being at the 2016 Qatar Open. She also finished runner-up at nine other tournaments.

“Tennis right now has a very high demand. To be high in the ranking you need absolute consistency, a world-class level of physical conditioning and a 24-hour daily psychological commitment. I have been in high competition for more than 15 years and have lived through these realities since the beginning of my adolescence. These are lessons that have formed me as a person and that will serve me for a lifetime,” Suárez Navarro explained.
“I want to enjoy one last season with the same professionalism as always. I am going to do a quality preparation, my whole team is going to travel with me from the month of January and I plan to compete until the end of the season. My desire is clear: to be proud of this last effort when I reach the end of the road.”

Suarez Navarro has also enjoyed success in the doubles where she peaked at a high of 11th back in 2015. Her trio of trophies was won alongside Muguruza between 2014-2015. The duo also reached the semi-finals of the 2014 French Open.

Representing her country, the three-time Olympian has also featured in 15 Fed Cup ties. Including Spain’s clash with Belgium earlier this year when she won all three of her matches (two singles and one doubles). Overall, she has a win-loss record of 16-11 in the competition.

Despite knowing that next year will be her last as a player, the Spaniard has big ambitions for 2020. Including a fourth consecutive appearance at the Olympic Games.

“My goals are going to be as high as ever,” she stated. “I want to try to finish the year in the Top 10 because I know what it takes to be there. I am very excited to participate in another Olympic Games and, as always, I will have the Grand Slams in mind. Although it is the last season of my career, my mentality will be exactly the same: work, humility and ambition.”

Suarez Navarro will start her final season at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Four facts about Suarez Navarro’s career

  1. Her career prize money currently stands at $11,580,886. The third highest of all time for a Spanish woman.
  2. Has won 509 matches so far in her career against 336 loses.
  3. Between 2013-2016 Suarez Navarro finished each season in the top 20 for both singles and doubles.
  4. She has played in 43 grand slam tournaments and hasn’t missed the main draw of a major event since losing in the second round of qualifying at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships.

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Ash Barty ‘Grateful’ After Winning Top Prize At Newcombe Awards

Ash Barty claimed her third Newcombe medal on a historic night for Australian tennis.

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Ash Barty (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

World number one Ash Barty feels ‘grateful’ and ‘humbled’ after winning the top prize at the Newcombe awards. 

 

The Australian’s year was capped off in sensational style on Tuesday evening local time as she won the 2019 Newcombe medal.

After becoming world number one this year as well as winning Roland Garros, the WTA Finals and leading Australia to the Fed Cup final, it’s only fitting the 23 year-old won Australian tennis’ top prize.

Speaking after receiving her award, Barty says she feels ‘humbled’ after an extraordinary year, “I’m incredibly grateful and very humbled to be here tonight,” she said after winning her third Newcombe medal triumph.

“This is not about individual athletes, it’s a night of celebration for everyone involved in tennis and everyone that’s a part of our tennis family. Congratulations to everyone else who’s in this room. It takes a village and we are a big tennis family. I’m very humbled to be here tonight.”

Next up for the Australian will be preparing for the new season, which will start in her hometown of Brisbane on the 6th of January.

Other winners saw Barty’s coach, Craig Tyzzer win the coaching excellence while Sam Stosur was awarded the spirit of tennis award after her contribution to Australian tennis that spans two decades.

Wheelchair start, Dylan Alcott also won most outstanding athlete with a disability as it was a night to remember for everyone involved with Australian tennis.

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