Johanna Konta Ousts Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova Becomes New World No. 1 - UBITENNIS
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Johanna Konta Ousts Simona Halep, Karolina Pliskova Becomes New World No. 1

No. 6 Johanna Konta beat No. 2 Simona Halep to make semifinals. Halep would have become No. 1 if she won, but it will be Karolina Pliskova who tops the rankings on Monday

Jakub Bobro

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Halep took the early break to start the match for 3-0. She kept it for 4-1, and it seemed like the Romanian was in full control of the match. However, Konta had other plans. The Brit became very solid on her serve, broke back, and took the first set to a tiebreak. Konta held on to Halep until 2-3, when the World No. 2 won 4 points in a row. Halep won the first set 7-2 in the tiebreak.

 

Konta continued to perform well on serve and got some looks on Halep’s service games too. The Brit had two break points at 4-3 and would have been serving for the set. That didn’t happen, and the second set went into a tiebreak too. Halep took a 3-1 lead and was serving for the match at 5-4 in the tiebreak. She lost both of the points on her serve, and Konta won the second set tiebreak 7-5.

Halep had a break point in the beginning of the final set. After a long and tedious game, Konta held to 1-1 and didn’t look back. The Brit broke for 3-2 and held the break for the remainder of the set, winning 6-7(2) 7-6(5) 6-4. The match point was very controversial. Before Halep’s last shot, a spectator shouted. It seemed to hinder Halep, who hit a very slow forehand which barely reached the net. No replay was ordered by umpire Kader Nouni, and the match was over.

Post-Match Comments:

Johanna Konta

Last Point
“Yeah, so I heard a scream, I think it was off my side of the court, towards the left. But I think the crowd, there were some overenthusiastic moments, which happens I think with every match where it comes to a tense moment. I think it’s a part of sport, the crowd getting excited and getting sometimes a little too involved.”
“But, again, I was just playing the next ball. I think we experienced it a couple of times in the match. All of us players have experienced that throughout our careers.”

Wimbledon Success
“Well, I’ve dreamed of success in every slam. I think it makes it more special because it is home. I do get that home support, which I don’t get anywhere else. In that sense, I guess it makes it that much sweeter. But more importantly, actually, I feel very, very happy and very excited for the battles that I’ve got to have so far in these Championships. I’ve been involved in some pretty great matches, actually, both of them were on Centre Court, the more epic ones. In that sense, in the way I feel my opponents have pushed me, and I in turn them, and to create such a, I guess, sporting excitement for the crowd, that makes it I think very special.”

Facing Venus
“Well, I think what Venus and her sister have given our sport is absolutely tremendous. The way they’ve elevated women’s tennis is truly inspiring. So I feel very excited and very humbled to be sharing the court with her again. We’ve had a few battles in the past. She’s got the better of me the last time we played, so I’m really looking forward to playing her.”

Simona Halep

Konta’s Bathroom Break
“Yeah, I don’t believe that were only four minutes. But she does that all the time. I cannot change because there is no rule. I understood from the umpire.”

Last Point
“I thought he’s going to repeat the point. I think it’s normal to repeat the point when someone is screaming like that. Yeah, because he said, We cannot replay. I cannot change anything. So why I should fight?”

No. 1
“Well, I don’t know how is to be No. 1. I’m not still there. It’s nice to be in the top 10 for so long time. I’m really pleased with my performance. Of course, one of my goals is to get to No. 1. But I had another chance here. I was close, I could say. But doesn’t affect me that much because I think I have many years ahead. So maybe I will have more chances. I’m close, so I have just to keep working.”

Despite her Round of 64 exit, Karolina Pliskova will become the 23rd WTA No. 1 player on Monday. WTA will return to having a slamless No. 1 after more than 5 years. Unlike the last slamless No. 1, Wozniacki, Pliskova has a hard hitting game and is expected to win slams very soon. The Czech was among the chief favorites at Wimbledon but was upset by now-semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova.

Here is what Pliskova had to say about possibly becoming No. 1 after her loss to Rybarikova:

“Well, for me, the tournament is over. So whatever happens happens. I’m not going to pray for somebody’s losing or winning. So that’s not my thing anymore what is happening here.

I’m just going to take off and, yeah, let’s just wait who’s gonna win it. It’s a tough draw for everybody I think. There are some opponents which are tricky on the grass, which is tough even for the favorites. You could see it today. I think there is for the first two seeded girls, Angie and Simona, they have also some tough draw. Still depends how they’re gonna play.”

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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David Haggerty (zimbio.com)

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.

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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.

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Serena Williams (zimbio.com)

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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