Agnieszka Radwanska Ends Seven-Month Semifinal Drought In New Haven - UBITENNIS
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Agnieszka Radwanska Ends Seven-Month Semifinal Drought In New Haven

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Agnieszka Radwanska (zimbio.com)

Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska is closing in on a second consecutive title at the New Haven Open after defeating China’s Peng Shuai 7-5, 6-3.

 

The world No.10, who last reached a tour semifinal back in January, dropped serve at the early stages of both sets before battling her way past the Chinese eighth seed. Producing 20 winners and 20 unforced errors, the former Wimbledon finalist benefited heavily from Peng’s costly error count of 44.

“She’s a very solid player,” Radwanska commented about Peng. “I knew I needed to work hard over there to win every point. She’s not making mistakes. You really need to push her to make mistakes.”

The win is sweet revenge for the Polish player, who lost to Peng in straight sets earlier this year in Indian Wells. This week Radwanska is bidding to win her first title of the season and reach her first final since the Sydney International at the start of the year.

“She’s definitely a tough opponent, I’ve played her a few times before so I knew what I had to do,” Radwanska said. “I really pushed myself even more than 100% today (Thursday).
“I’m very, very happy that I could get this revenge.”

Awaiting the top seed in the semifinals will be Daria Gavrilova. The Australian, who has lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament on two previous occasions, muscled her way past Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-4. Saving all 11 break points that she faced in the match.

“The plan was to be aggressive, she’s a very tricky player,” wtatennis.com quoted Gavrilova in her on-court interview after the match. “It feels pretty good right now, I’m really happy with the way my tournament is going.”

The last four showdown will be new territory for both players, who has never played each other on the tour. Gavrilova has scored eight wins over top 10 players in her career, but only one this year. That was against Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Italian Open. Meanwhile, Radwanska is still seeking her first top 10 scalp of the season.

“Playing someone for the first time is very challenging, but also very exciting after so many years on the tour playing the same players,” said Radwanska. “It’s very nice to play someone for the first time.
“I know [Gavrilova] can play really good tennis, she’s a great fighter. So we’ll see tomorrow.”

Cibulkova progresses

In the other section of the draw, Dominika Cibulkova held her nerve to edge out Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-4. During the first set, the Slovakian was forced to fight back from a 2-4 deficit. Then in the second, Cibulkova’s lead of 5-0 sparked a four-game winning streak from Pavlyuchenkova before she managed to break the Russian again to seal the match.

There was high commotion both on and off the court. The match was halted for 20 minutes due to a medical emergency in the crowd. Cibulkova later explained that the break allowed her to regain her focus on the match.

“She started with a strong game and I couldn’t do what I wanted,” Cibulkova explained. “The break (fan needing medical attention) helped me because I did not feel good on the court. I was fighting and fighting and trying to turn the match around.
“I needed to be more aggressive. The only chance to play better today was to go against her strong balls, just to hit it 100 percent. I wasn’t hitting the ball 100 percent early on. She was just kind of killing me on the court.”

The second seed will next player Belgian qualifier Elise Mertens, who had a walkover in her match.

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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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Why Ash Barty Isn’t Staying At The Olympic Village In Tokyo

The two-time Grand Slam champion has opted to stay at an alternate venue heading into the Games.

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Ashleigh Barty (AUS) playing against Angelique Kerber (GER) in the semi-final of the Ladies' Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 10 Thursday 08/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

Ash Barty will prepare for her debut at the Olympic Games by staying at a base located outside of the athletes village as part of her ‘performance plan.’

 

The world No.1 heads into Tokyo as one of the favourites for gold following her triumph at Wimbledon where she defeated Karolina Pliskova in the final. She is one of six top 10 players set to play in the women’s singles tournament which will start on Saturday.

Leading up to the Games, the head of the Australian Olympic delegation has told reporters that Barty’s decision not to stay in the village will enhance her gold medal chances. In previous Games athletes have stayed outside of the villages but this year it is more challenging to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tokyo is currently in a state of emergency and fans are banned from attending the event amid fears of the virus spreading if they do so.

“Ash is staying elsewhere,” chef de mission Ian Chesterman told the Australian Associated Press.
“We have a number of athletes staying outside the village. We allow that, it’s just what works best for them.
“Something I’ve always been very big on is driving performance takes a whole lot of flexible decisions, flexible options.
“In terms of her performance plan, it’s best served by her being able to control her environment and we respect that.”

The exact location of Barty’s base has not been disclosed but it is near to the village where she was said to have visited and had a cup of coffee on Tuesday morning.

She is staying in an Australian environment where she can still easily access the village,” Chesterman stated.

The 25-year-old is bidding to become only the second Australian in history to win a medal in the women’s singles at the Olympics. The first was Alicia Molik who claimed a bronze medal back in 2004.

During a recent interview with The ITF, Barty said playing at the event is a dream come true for her as she describes representing her country as the ‘highest honour.’

“Being an Olympian has always been a dream of mine as a kid, I think representing your country is the highest honour,” Barty told the ITF.
“For an Aussie it’s the best thing you can do and I can’t wait to have an opportunity to wear the green and gold.
“You’re playing for something bigger than yourself. You’re playing to represent your nation. You’re playing to make people proud and that’s not just with results it’s with your attitude.”

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Bianca Andreescu pulls out of Tokyo Olympics

The world number five has officially pulled out of the Olympics in Tokyo stating reasons due to the ongoing pandemic situation.

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Bianca Andreescu will not be making the trip to Tokyo to play in the Olympics after withdrawing due to the current pandemic situation.

 

The former US Open champion issued a statement concerning what she describes as a ‘difficult decision.’ Andreescu is the latest top name to pull out of the Olympics. Last week Nick Kyrgios also said he wouldn’t be playing for similar reasons. Due to a a surge of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, the city has gone into a state of emergency which prompted organisers to ban spectators from attending Olympic events in the city. Athletes will be subjected to tough restrictions during their time at the event, as well as regular testing.

” I would like to inform you that I have made the very difficult decision to not play in the Tokyo Olympics later this month,” Andreescu wrote on Instagram. “I have been dreaming of representing Canada at the Olympics since I was a little girl but with all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know that deep in my heart, this is the right decision to make for myself. I look forward to representing Canada in future Fed Cup ties, and competing at the 2024 Olympics in Paris! “

The Canadian hasn’t played since losing in the first round of Wimbledon to Alize Cornet of France and most recently split with her coach Sylvain Brunneau after a four-year partnership.

Her 2021 season has been up and down starting in Australia where she lost in the second round before making the semifinals at the Phillips Island Trophy event. She then made the final at the Miami Open before taking a fall in the final against Ash Barty and was forced to retire due to injury.

Then the clay-court season came and Andreescu tested positive for Covid. She was forced to miss events in Madrid and Rome, so she headed to Strasbourg for some preparation before the French Open. The world No.5 won two matches in Strasbourg before pulling out due to an ab injury. She then lost in the first round of the French Open.

The Canadian moved on to the grass-court season heading to Berlin but again would get upset in the first round by Alize Cornet before winning one round in Eastbourne and losing to Anett Kontaveit.

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