Star-studded women's field set for Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati - UBITENNIS
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Star-studded women’s field set for Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati

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Another incredible women’s field has been announced for the Western & Southern Open, a WTA Premier 5 event, in Cincinnati, where 39 of the world’s top 43 are set to take the hard courts of the Lindner Family Tennis Center.

 

At a highly anticipated player field announcement party, the Western & Southern Open, a WTA Premier 5 event on the US Open Series leading up to the final major of the year, the US Open, revealed another star-studded entry list for this year’s tournament in Mason, Ohio. Set to appear at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Cincinnati is a jam-packed 39 0f the world’s top 43 players in the WTA rankings.

Headlining the field in Ohio is defending champion Karolina Pliskova, who will rise to world number one for the first time in her career come Monday, returning to the place where her impressive run to the top ranking spot began. Joining the big-serving Czech in Cincinnati is two-time runner-up and soon-t0-be former number one Angelique Kerber and 2015 finalist and world number two Simona Halep. Also joining an impressive field in Mason is American number one and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, who is going for a sixth Wimbledon title on Saturday in London, and another powerful home hope Madison Keys.

Also slated to play in the scorching summer sun of America’s Midwest is a plethora of former major winners and number one players, with former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, newly-crowned French Open titlist Jelena Ostapenko, 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, who is also appearing in the final on Saturday at the All England Club, and 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur.

As has unfortunately been a theme over the last 12 months in women’s tennis there are some notable absences as well from the entry list in Cincinnati, as two-time champion and 23-time major champion Serena Williams will not play for the rest of the year due to the upcoming birth of her first child.

Also missing from the Western & Southern Open player field is Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky, China’s Shuai Zhang, and German Laura Siegemund, who tore her ACL earlier this year ahead of the French Open in Nurenberg.

Karolina Pliskova poses with her trophy at the 2016 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati/Zimbio/Adam Lyons

Some potential wildcards may also be announced closer to the tournament as 2011 champion and five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova, who made her return from a doping suspension in April in Stuttgart, 2013 champion and two-time Australian Open titlist Victoria Azarenka, and American Sloane Stephens all missed the entry cutoff due to their rankings.

The Sharapova case will be a very interesting one, as the Russian former world number one has already been given main draw wildcards by other US Open Series tournaments in Stanford and Toronto, but Cincinnati has yet to grant a wildcard of any kind to Sharapova. The Western & Southern Open’s decision could serve as a litmus test for what the US Open does for a wildcard for Sharapova as well, as the world number 180 will make the entry cutoff for US Open qualifying, but would need a main draw wildcard from the USTA to be automatically into the main draw at Flushing Meadows.

The 2017 Western & Southern Open begins Friday, August 11th with the official draw party at the Lindner Family Tennis Center before qualifying action gets underway the following day Saturday, August 12th. The tournament runs until Sunday, August 20th. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit cincytennis.com.

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since Kei Nishikori in 2008

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Carlos Alcaraz beat Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2 in the final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag becoming the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in Delray Beach in 2008 and the youngest Spanish ATP Tour champion since RafaelNadal in Sopot 2004. 

 

Alcaraz earned his first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with an inside-in forehand winner and he never looked back by holding his next service games. The Spanish teenager broke serve in the third game as Gasquet made a double fault. Alcaraz converted his third break point in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Gasquet earned three break points but he was not able to convert them. 

“I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players. I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and  I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It’s going to be useful for the future”, said Alcaraz. 

Gasquet was aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since s’Hertogenbosch in 2018. 

“It was tough for me to play with his full intensity. I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin. He is playing unbeievable. He is only 18 and of course he had a great future and Ijust could not play at his level and his intensity”, said Gasquet. 

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