Caroline Wozniacki comes back from the brink to defeat Anett Kontaveit, reach Wimbledon fourth round - UBITENNIS
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Caroline Wozniacki comes back from the brink to defeat Anett Kontaveit, reach Wimbledon fourth round

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Former world number one and fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki fought hard to edge unseeded 21-year-old Estonian Anett Kontaveit, coming back from two points from defeat to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon 3-6, 7-6, 6-2.

 

Fifth seed and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki battled back from the brink of defeat to edge big-hitting Estonian Anett Kontaveit and reach the second week here at Wimbledon 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 on No. 1 Court here at SW19. The Dane weathered the storm of the streaky power of 21-year-old Kontaveit, growing in confidence as the match went on as she hit 19 winners to 21 unforced errors, compared to the much higher 41 winners and 54 unforced errors from the racquet of the ‘s-Hertogenbosch champion here at the All England Club in London.

“I did make it through, yeah. It definitely was a tough match, but happy the way I fought. I didn’t give up. I felt her getting just a little bit nervous towards the end, and I took advantage of that,” Wozniacki said of her third round encounter.

It was confident start in the opening set from Kontaveit as the Estonian held to love to begin the match, following that up with an immediate break of the Wozniacki serve to go up 2-0. Following another routine hold from the unseeded 21-year-old, it was the Danish former world number one who went on a surge of her own, getting her first game on the board with a comfortable hold of serve before snatching the break back on her second time of asking for 3-2.

The fifth seed leveled the first set with a routine hold for 3-all before the young Estonian’s game heated up again, saving a break point to hold for 4-3 before grabbing a break lead again with some more powerful hitting to go up 5-3 and give herself the chance to serve for the opening set. Despite a slight wobble early on as she attempted to serve out the first set, Kontaveit saved two break points before closing it out on her first time of asking to seal the opening set 6-3.

The second set was much like the first as it begun brightly for the world number 38, breaking the world number six immediately out of the gates in the second set before backing that up with a hold for 2-0. The two-time US Open runner-up managed to get herself on the board, saving a break point in the process for a routine hold before the pair exchanged holds of serve the following four games for 4-3 as Kontaveit continued to ride her solitary break lead to the finish.

Anett Kontaveit hits a backhand at Wimbledon in London/Zimbio/Shaun Botterill

Despite facing some pressure on her serve at 30-all, the ‘s-Hertogenbosch champion’s forehand came up big again today, staying calm with a crisp forehand volley winner and another big forehand winner to hold for 5-3 and force Wozniacki to serve to stay in the match. Showing her far superior experience, the former world number one held steady, holding to love to force the Estonian rising star to serve out the match. Looking to close out the match, Kontaveit raced out to a 30-0 lead but Wozniacki refused to give up, forcing the errors from the 21-year-old to break and level the match at five games apiece.

After getting broken serving for the match, Kontaveit got up and picked up right where she left off, utilizing her big-hitting game to push Wozniacki around and eventually break the Dane on her fourth time of asking with a huge backhand winner to go up 6-5 and give herself another chance to serve out the match. The fifth seed continued to maintain the pressure on Kontaveit, as the 21-year-old’s nerves began to manifest itself in further errors as Wozniacki broke again to force a tiebreak.

The server dominated early on in the tiebreak as the first five points all went to serve with the former world number one up 3-2. A key minibreak came the following point for the Dane as she was able to take a point off the Kontaveit serve for a 4-3 lead. The Wozniacki serve continued to pay dividends in the breaker as the fifth seed held both her service points for 6-3, turning the tables and forcing the Estonian to serve to stay in the second set. The pressure continued to get to Kontaveit as some relentless defense from Wozniacki wore the 21-year-old down to edge out the second set 7-6 and force a decider on No. 1 Court.

The third set was a complete role reversal of the third as early on Wozniacki dominated proceedings, breaking the Kontaveit serve immediately before the next three games went to serve for 3-1. The fifth seed kept up the pressure on the Estonian as more errors flew off the racquet of Kontaveit to give Wozniacki the double break punctuated by a confident backhand winner from the Dane for 4-1.

More confident serving from the former world number gave her another routine hold to go up a seemingly insurmountable 5-1 lead and force the 21-year-old to serve to stay in the match, a position Wozniacki was in nearly three-quarters of an hour prior. With the tables having turned under pressure now, Kontaveit held her nerve and saved a match point to eventually hold and force Wozniacki to serve it out. Now with her chance to serve out the match. Wozniacki made no mistake with her opportunity, closing it out on her third time of asking with a strong backhand winner to move onto the second week at the All England Club 3-6, 7-6, 6-2.

Asked about how she was able to edge out Kontaveit for the win today, the Dane said, “Yeah, I felt like I wasn’t playing my best in the beginning. It definitely took me a while to get into it. But I thought I played really well in the third set and in the end of the second set.”

“I was pleased to just keep fighting. I started just, you know, going for it a little bit more. At that point I had nothing to lose,” commented the fifth seed and former world number one.

Caroline Wozniacki hits a forehand at Wimbledon in London/Zimbio/Shaun Botterill

Up next for the two-time US Open finalist is big-serving American Coco Vandeweghe, who defeated grass court specialist Alison Riske in straight sets to book her spot in the second week. Asked about the challenge of facing big hitters like Kontaveit and Vandeweghe, the world number six said, “Well, you need to be ready from the start. You need to be ready for the first two shots. That’s really the challenge, to be able to redirect from the start.”

“You know, once you get into defense, there’s almost no way out of it. You need to try and stay aggressive yourself,” commented Wozniacki.

Finally discussing her fourth round opponent, the Dane said, “She’s a big server and a big hitter. Obviously she likes the grass, so it’s not going to be an easy one. For now, I’m just happy I survived today. I’m not really too worried yet about Monday.”

“I’m just going to enjoy to have won today. Obviously it’s going to be really difficult when Monday comes around. But, yeah, I’ll take that when that day comes,” concluded the fifth seed.

Wozniacki and Vandeweghe will play their fourth round match on Monday here at Wimbledon.

Grand Slam

Only Double Vaccinated Players Will Be Allowed To Play Australian Open – Government Minister

Players will not be exempt from a ‘universal application’ applied to those wishing to travel to the country.

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A high ranking official from the Australian government has confirmed for the first time that players will not be allowed to enter the country next year if they have not been double vaccinated against COVID-19.

 

Immigration minister Alex Hawke has stated that there will be no exemptions in force for tennis players hoping to play in the Australian Open amid recent speculation. According to Andrey Rublev, he had been told that unvaccinated players could be allowed to play but will have to enter into a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. However, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday that it was unlikely visas would be issued to those who are unvaccinated.

Trying to clarify the current situation, Hawke has told ABC radio that all entrants into the country will be required to be vaccinated regardless of who they are. His comments come before Tennis Australia has made any official announcement regarding the tournament and it’s entry requirements.

“The government in establishing its borders has said that you’ll need to be double vaccinated to visit Australia. That’s a universal application, not just to tennis players. I mean that every visitor to Australia will need to be double vaccinated,” Hawke said on ABC radio.

The move raises further questions about the prospect of Novak Djokovic being able to attend the Australian Open. The 20-time Grand Slam champion recently said he doesn’t want to reveal his vaccination status to the public. In the past he said he was against the idea of being forced to have a vaccination but rejects allegations that he is an anti-vaxxer.

“I don’t have a message to Novak. I have a message to everybody that wishes to visit Australia. He’ll need to be double vaccinated,” Hawke later added.

Unlike other sports, tennis’ governing bodies have not issued any public statements outlining the vaccination rates among players on their Tour’s. Reuters news agency estimates the vaccination rate is 65% for the ATP and 60% for the WTA based on recent media reports. However, The Age newspaper reports those who are double vaccinated are below half with 35% for the ATP and 40% for the WTA.

As for the suggestion that players who had already contracted COVID-19 should be allowed into the country regardless of their vaccine status, the president of the Victorian Australian Medical Association has dismissed the idea.

“I understand he [Djokovic] had it [coronavirus] but, believe it or not, the immunity from the vaccination is better than the immunity from catching the disease,” Dr Roderick McRae told The Age.
“I think there is an element of standards [here]. It’s important our leaders make these decisions in our interests and it [banning unvaccinated travellers] demonstrates to the community just how important we take this.”

The Australian Open will begin on January 17th. Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are the reigning champions.

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Victorian Premier: Unvaccinated Players Likely To Be Refused Visas To Play Australian Open

The government official has issued a warning ahead of the Grand Slam but one player say they have been told something different…

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photo by atpworldtour.com

The head of the Victorian Government has said there is a good chance that any player who is unvaccinated will be refused entry into Australia next year and be excluded from the Australian Open.

 

Daniel Andrews has insisted that no deals will be cut with the players where they could receive special treatment in order for them to enter the region. Recently local officials implemented a health mandate in Victoria requiring essential workers to be vaccinated, including professional athletes. The move has prompted speculation over the implications that will have on the upcoming Australian Open which will get underway in January.

Andrews, who has been the Premier of Victoria since 2014, will not be the person who has the final say as to if unvaccinated players will be allowed to enter the country. That will be decided by the national government. However, in a press conference on Tuesday he cast serious doubt over their chances.

“I don’t think an unvaccinated tennis player is going to get a visa to come into this country,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“If they did get a visa, they’d probably have to quarantine for a couple of weeks when no other players will have to.
“AFL players have to be vaccinated, but they’re Aussies, they’re not coming from other countries.
“I don’t think any other tennis player, or golfer, or Formula One driver, will even get a visa to get here.
“Professional sport is part of that authorised worker list and they have to be double dose vaccinated.”

The warning comes less than 24 hours after Blic newspaper published an interview with world No.1 Novak Djokovic who admits he is unsure about playing at the tennis major. Djokovic declined to reveal his vaccination status and has accused the media of causing a divide between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. He has won the Australian Open men‘s title a record nine times.

“I won’t disclose whether I am vaccinated or not. It is a private matter, I think it is inappropriate to ask a person that. Too many people allow themselves the freedom to ask and then to judge. Whatever you say – I have, I have not, maybe, I do not know or I am thinking about it – they will use it against you,” he said.

Tennis Australia has not commented on Andrews’ statement and it is unclear as to when a final decision will be made. Although Djokovic believes a final decision could come in two weeks time.

Meanwhile, Andrey Rublev has contradicted what Andrews has said during a press conference in Moscow. Speaking to reporters the Russian says it is his understanding that unvaccinated players will be allowed to play the Australian Open but they will be forced to enter into a 14-day quarantine. Meaning they will miss tournaments such as the ATP Cup leading up to the Grand Slam.

“If athletes do not want to stay in quarantine for two weeks, then they must be vaccinated. As far as I know, Australians recognize many vaccines. If you do not get vaccinated, then you will not be able to leave the room for two weeks. Then you won’t be able to play either the ATP Cup or the tournaments before the Australian Open.” Said Rublev.

Besides the players, local fans attending the Australian Open could also be refused entry if they are unvaccinated and their freedoms won’t be relaxed until ‘well into 2022.’ Andrews said he doubts crowds at the Australian Grand Prix, which takes place three months after the Melbourne major, will not include those are are not double jabbed.

“Why would you get the system going, have the thing up and running and then essentially pull down all of the architecture that you’ve built, the culture that you’ve changed – why would you change that four or five weeks later?” He said.
“For example, the Grand Prix is in April, I don’t think there will be crowds at the Grand Prix made up of people who have not been double dosed.”

The Australian Open is set to get underway on January 17th.

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Grand Slam Matches Among 38 Suspicious Betting Alerts Over Past Three Months

The body is charge of monitoring match-fixing in the sport has issued their latest findings.

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The International Tennis Integrity Agency has confirmed they have received ‘match alerts’ concerning a quartet of matches which took place at Grand Slam tournaments during the third quarter of 2021.

 

Two matches played at Wimbledon and a further two which took place at the US Open were flagged up, according to their quarterly report which was public on Tuesday. The names of the individuals involved in those matches are not made public whilst the ITIA investigate the matter. The alerts are received through their confidential Memoranda of Understanding with the regulated betting industry.

A total of 38 betting alerts were issued to the ITIA during the third quarter with the most coming from matches played on the Challenger Tour (13). There were also nine suspicious matches from ITF $25,000 tournaments on the men’s Tour and another seven linked to $15,000 events. To put that into context the women’s ITF Tour reported a total of three overall.

“It is important to note that an alert on its own is not evidence of match fixing,” the ITIA stated in their report.
“Unusual betting patterns can occur for many reasons other than match fixing – for example incorrect odds-setting; well-informed betting; player fitness, fatigue or form; playing conditions and personal circumstances.”

Five players have been sanctioned within the past three months for match-fixing offences with the most high-profile being Temur Ismailov from Uzbekistan. Ismailov, who reached a ranking high of 397th in 2016, was issued with a life ban after being found guilty of offences in addition to another suspension he was already serving.

The ITIA has also provisionally suspended six Moroccans and one Pervian player in connection with possible violations of anti-corruption rules.

The ITIA was created by the international governing bodies to investigate allegations against players and hand out sanctions. It is currently in the process of merging with the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) and will oversee the global administration of the TADP from January 1st if it receives Board approval.

Number of alerts (third quarter of 2021 only)

  • Wimbledon: 2
  • US Open: 2
  • ATP Challenger: 13
  • ATP World Tour: 250 1
  • Davis Cup: 1
  • M25 Men’s – World Tennis Tour: 9
  • M15 Men’s – World Tennis Tour: 7
  • W15 Women’s – World Tennis Tour: 2
  • W80 Women’s – World Tennis Tour: 1

TOTAL: 38

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