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

WTA

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.

Published

on

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.

Latest news

Bianca Andreescu Reunites With Former Coach Ahead Of New Season 

How will the Grand Slam champion fair on the Tour with her latest mentor?

Published

on

BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has brought a familiar face back into her team as she bids to return to her best form in 2023. 

 

Andreescu, who is currently ranked 45th in the WTA rankings, has appointed Christophe Lambert as her latest coach. Lambert had been working as the performance director at Tennis New Zealand and resigned from that position to work with the former US Open champion. He had also previously worked for Tennis Canada and during that time he was a private coach for Andreescu in 2016. 

“Bianca asked me to coach her and I accepted the job. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Lambert told sport.co.nz. 

Lambert, who has also spent time working with the Chinese Davis Cup team and for the British LTA, has stayed in contact with Andreescu ever since coaching her six years ago. 

“It wasn’t like every week or every month. It’s always good to have people calling you when you are up, but when she was down I was checking on her and giving her my opinion.” He said. 

Andreescu had been working with Dutch coach Sven Groeneveld for over a year before they decided to end their collaboration in October. Groeneveld has a wealth of experience in the sport after working with a series of top names, including Maria Sharapova. 

This season the former world No.4 has won 20 out of 33 matches played with her best performance being a run to the final of the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. However, her record against top 10 opposition was 2-5.

“I’m just taking it day by day, and it’s a great way to end off the year as well, just bringing back all the emotions that fire a lot in me,” Andreescu recently told reporters in Glasgow at the Billie Jean King Cup. “I think I’m going to have a great preseason. Next year I really think I can crack the top 10 again.”

Andreescu, who has been hampered by injury issues in recent years, hasn’t won a singles title of any sort since 2019. 

Continue Reading

Latest news

Four-Time Grand Slam Winner Naomi Osaka Named In FTX Lawsuit 

The former world No.1 took an equity stake in the failed business earlier this year. 

Published

on

NAOMI OSAKA OF JAPAN - PHOTO: ALVARO DIAZ / MMO

Naomi Osaka is among a series of high-profile individuals who have been accused of using their celebrity status to promote FTX’s failed business model in a lawsuit filed against the cryptocurrency exchange. 

 

The BBC has reported that over one million people and businesses could be owed money following the collapse of FTX, according to bankruptcy filings. A week ago FTX collapsed into bankruptcy with its former boss Sam Bankman-Fried stepping down as CEO. A massive development in the financial for what was one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world that had the naming rights to a Formula One racing team as well as a sports arena in Miami.

According to the Associated Press, the company is being investigated by state and federal prosecutors over allegations it ‘invested depositors’ funds in ventures without their approval.’ In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, it argues that celebrity backers of FTX such as Osaka should be held just as accountable as Bankman-Fried as they brought ‘instant credibility’ to the company. 

“Part of the scheme employed by the FTX Entities involved utilizing some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment — like these Defendants — to raise funds and drive American consumers to invest … pouring billions of dollars into the deceptive FTX platform to keep the whole scheme afloat,” the lawsuit said.

Osaka took an equity stake in FTX in March where she would be receiving compensation in Crypto. Signing what was described as a ‘long-term partnership’ to become a global ambassador, the tennis star aimed to draw attention to women joining the platform and she played a role in directing its content.

“We have seen the statistics about how few women are part of crypto by comparison, which kind of mirrors the inequality we see in other financial markets,” Osaka said earlier this year.

Osaka, who has won 14 out of 23 matches played this season, has not made any public statement regarding the lawsuit. NFL quarterback Tom Brady, comedian Larry David and basketball team the Golden State Warriors are also defendants in the lawsuit.

Continue Reading

WTA

WTA Targets New Multi-Year Deal For Its Premier Event If Agreement With China Fails

Will the WTA Finals return to Shenzhen in 2023?

Published

on

WTA CEO Steve Simon

The WTA say they are not willing to compromise their principles concerning the possibility of hosting tournaments in China next year amid uncertainty over the future of their season-ending event. 

 

Steve Simon, who is the CEO of the women’s Tour, says he is hopeful that a resolution can be found with the country but has vowed now to back down on its stance. Last year the WTA suspended tournaments in China over concerns about the safety of former player Peng Shuai who accused a former government official of sexually assaulting her. 

Shuai disappeared shortly after posting her statement on social media before returning a few weeks later with photos and videos of her being posted online by journalists linked to the government-controlled media. There are concerns that the former doubles Grand Slam champion, who has not left her country since making those allegations, is being censored by the government. The WTA wants an investigation to be conducted into the matter. 

“We’ve made a strong stand, and we stand behind that stance, and we’re not going to compromise our principles,” Simon said during an interview with The New York Times. “Clearly when we did it, we understood eyes wide open what it could mean.”
“We’re still in the same place. If they come forward with something else we should look at, of course we are open to it. But we haven’t seen it so far. I’m hopeful we do find a resolution. That’s the goal, to find the right resolution. What’s the truth? Then we can move forward.” He added. 

Simon said he is confident that Shuai is safe in Beijing but he has not been able to make any direct contact with her, despite trying to on multiple occasions. A letter reportedly written by Shuai to the WTA was posted online in 2021 saying that she wishes to be left alone. However, many have doubted the authenticity of that letter with some fearing that she wrote it under duress. 

One of the biggest impacts of the fallout has involved the prestigious WTA Finals, which is a round-robin tournament featuring the eight best-performing players over the past 12 months. In 2018 a lucrative deal was agreed that paved the way for the event to be held in Shenzhen for 10 years. However, the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before the next two additions were moved elsewhere.

Whilst the WTA is optimistic about a return to Shenzhen in 2023, there are also backup plans in the works. Simon confirmed that it is no longer feasible for the WTA Finals to be held in a location for just one year. So it is likely that the tournament would be held in a city for two or more years in a row if it doesn’t return to China next season. 

“We’re not going to continue to do these one-year decisions,” he said. “It’s not sustainable. If it looks like we can’t go back to China or aren’t ready to go back, then I do think we will carve out a multiyear situation, because we need to for the business.”

The case involving Shuai isn’t the only barrier for the WTA. China’s zero-covid policy has made hosting international events in the region unfeasible and the ATP cancelled all of their events in the tournament this year due to the situation. 

This year’s WTA Finals has a prize money offering of $5M which is more than half of what was on offer at the 2019 tournament in Shenzhen ($14M). 

Simon didn’t provide any deadline for when an agreement must be reached with China must be reached before the WTA considers moving their event elsewhere once again. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending