Karolina Pliskova Scores Back-To-Back Wins To Reach Cincinnati Semis - UBITENNIS
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Karolina Pliskova Scores Back-To-Back Wins To Reach Cincinnati Semis




Due to the inclement weather that disrupted Thursday’s schedule, the current WTA world No. 1 was forced to play back-to-back matches during Friday’s day session at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. The Czech emerged unscathed and convincingly booked her spot in the semifinals.


Karolina Pliskova (zimbio.com)

By Lorenzo Dellagiovanna

CINCINNATI – Friday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati was a crucial day for Karolina Pliskova’s hopes to remain at the top of the WTA rankings for the rest of the 2017 season. Pliskova, Halep, Svitolina and Wozniacki all entered the event with the possibility to sit on top of the world rankings at the end of the tournament. After the torrential rain that derailed the majority of Thursday’s schedule, the current world No.1 emerged unscathed from back-to-back matches and booked her spot in the semifinals.

Pliskova’s round of 16 match against qualifier Camila Giorgi of Italy started on Thursday evening with the Czech dominating the tournament’s most surprising player and sprinting to a 3-0 lead. When play resumed at 1 PM under a mostly cloudless sky and with temperatures reaching almost 85°F, the match became more balanced with both players hitting the ball beautifully from the back of the court. Pliskova’s easy power was matched by Giorgi’s great anticipation skills in fast baseline rallies delighting the local crowd that gathered on Court 3.

Pliskova primarily focused on winning her service games and capitalizing on the break advantage from the night before. Giorgi’s strategy was clearly based on moving her opponent from side to side, but the Italian couldn’t completely execute her game plan and committed too many unforced errors in the crucial moments of the set, while her Czech opponent remained steady under pressure. Pliskova saved two important break-points with service winners while leading 5-3 and wrapped up the first set 6-3 with impeccable serving stats. Pliskova’s serve proved almost unplayable throughout the set despite the pressure applied by Giorgi standing two feet inside the baseline on the Czech’s second delivery.

In the second set, Giorgi cut down on her unforced errors and managed to hit some spectacular winners that allowed her to stay neck-and-neck with the world No. 1. With Pliskova serving at 4-5, the Italian finally broke the Czech powerhouse with three incredible winners, including two extraordinary cross-court backhands. The second set went to the Italian with the score of 6-4.

The match was virtually decided in the first game of the third set: Giorgi was serving at 30-30 when chair umpire Marija Čičak called a “time violation” on the Italian, which changed the momentum in the Czech’s favor again. Giorgi was visibly distracted and irritated by the umpire’s warning and started missing a few routine backhands that eventually cost her the match.

Pliskova quickly found her range and didn’t allow the Italian to step foot into the match again. The Czech closed the match with an emphatic 6-0 score in the third set.

6-3, 4-6, 6-0 was the final score in Pliskova’s favor.

A couple of hours later, the Czech took the court again against none other than Caroline Wozniacki – a former world No. 1 currently ranked No. 5 – in one of the most anticipated clashes of the women’s tournament. The head-to-head between the two players was clearly in Wozniacki’s favor, with the Dane leading 5-2.  Furthermore, Caroline beat the tall Czech in a titanic quarterfinal clash at the Canadian Open last week.

Pliskova clearly showed that she didn’t want to be involved in long rallies right from the beginning of the match. Wozniacki is one of the best defenders in women’s tennis and her speedy footwork typically allows her to retrieve an incredible amount of balls causing massive problems to power players who rely on aggressive shot-making abilities. Today the Dane didn’t bring her A-game to the table though and Pliskova didn’t show any signs of fatigue from her previous match.

The world No. 1 broke Wozniacki early in the match with aggressive returns and clean down-the-line shots that painted the lines. The Czech jumped to a 4-2 lead and ended up breaking the Dane’s serve for the second time in the set with another incredible return and a beautiful forehand winner. Pliskova then closed the first set 6-2 in exactly 30 minutes with a solid service hold.

Wozniacki seemed unable to match Pliskova’s power and committed a few unusual unforced errors. Early in the second set, the Czech decided to shorten the rallies even more and her strategy proved incredibly successful, hitting a ton of service winners and finishing the point with one-two punches.  Pliskova broke the Wozniacki serve to take a 3-1 lead and never looked back. She capitalized on her early break and closed the second set 6-4 holding her last service game at love.

6-2, 6-4 was the final score in the Czech’s favor.

“I think even the first match helped me to have some rallies today,” The top seed said about playing two matches on the same day.  “Physically (the first match) was not that tough so I was warmed up enough.”

Today’s back-to-back wins were massive for Pliskova, who is not only defending her Cincinnati title, but is also trying to fend off the challengers to her No. 1 ranking. Her victory against Wozniacki could be crucial for the race to No. 1.


Hubert Hurkacz Aims To Build On Delray Beach Triumph

The best way to start the season for the world No.35.




Hubert Hurkacz (image via https://twitter.com/DelrayBeachOpen)

Poland’s Herbert Hurkacz says he hopes to play at an even higher level over the coming weeks after winning the Delray Beach Open title on Wednesday.


The world No.35 eased to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Sebastian Korda in the final to claim only the second title in his career after Winston Salem back in 2018. Hurkacz, who was the fourth seed in the tournament, didn’t drop a set all week en route to becoming the first Polish player in history to win the title. In the final he won 68% of his service points and broke Korda four times overall.

“It feels great. It is great to win the title and I am so happy about that. This Is a great start to the season,” Hurkacz said afterwards.
“I am happy that I am improving and we (my team) are doing good stuff with C.B (coach Craig Boynton), and things are working. So I am really pleased with this result.”

The 23-year-old is hoping to improve on what was a challenging 2020 season for him. After reaching the semi-finals of the Auckland Open in January last year, he could only win back-to-back matches in two out of his next 12 tournaments prior to Delray Beach. His best Grand Slam result was reaching the third round of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

Seeking to break new territory in 2021, Hurkacz will today start his 24-hour journey to Australia which begins with a 5am departure from America this morning. His coach Craig Boynton also currently worked with Steve Johnson and previously mentored Jim Courier.

“It’s the beginning of the season and I still need to work on a couple of things, but I hope I can play even better in Australia,” Hurkacz stated.

Hurkacz is only the second Polish player to have won an ATP Tour title in the Open Era after Wojciech Fibak. At present he is the only player from his country ranked inside the top 100 on the Tour.

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Cristian Garin Out Of Australian Open Following Fall

The South American tennis star will not travel to Melbourne due to both injury and the travel restrictions implemented.




Chile’s Cristian Garin has become the third top 30 player to pull out of the men’s draw at next month’s Australian Open.


The world No.22 has confirmed that he will not be travelling to the Grand Slam after suffering a fall in which he hurt his wrist a week ago. Announcing his decision on Instagram, Garin said the limitations in place at the tournament which wouldn’t allow him to travel with his physio played a factor. This year’s Australian Open is taking place amid strict COVID-19 rules which requires players to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and limits the number of team members they can bring. The majority of players will be spending their quarantine in Melbourne but the top names will be in Adelaide following a recent deal secured by Tennis Australia.

I am very sad to report that a week ago I suffered a fall, which left me with a lot of pain in my left wrist (sprain),” Garin wrote on his Instagram story. “It has been very difficult for me to play the last days and given the restrictions of the tour, they do not allow me to travel with my physiotherapist, which makes it impossible to find a good recovery. Unfortunately I will not be able to play this year in Australia, which is something very difficult for me to accept. I hope to return in good condition and with the best energy for the tour in South America.”

photo via – https://www.instagram.com/garincris/

Garin kicked-off his season on Saturday at the Delray Beach Open where he was the top seed. However, he lost his opening match in straight sets to Christian Harrison who went on to reach the semi-finals. It is only the second tournament he has played since the French Open in October.

The setback comes after the 24-year-old confirmed that he has started working with Franco Davin back in November. A tennis coach known best for his work with Juan Martin del Potro. Davin has also previously worked with Grigor Dimitrov and Kyle Edmund.

The withdrawal of Garin follows that of Roger Federer and John Isner. Former champion Federer has pulled out due to his ongoing recovery from a right knee injury. Although one Australian Open official believes his decision was due to another factor. Meanwhile, Isner has opted not to travel to Australia because he didn’t want to spend an extended time away from his family.

The Australian Open will start on February 8th.

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Christian Harrison Speaks Out After ATP Fines Him For Not Wearing A Mask

The American says he is against ‘masking people for the sake of it for TV.’




Christian Harrison (image via https://twitter.com/DelrayBeachOpen)

American tennis player Christian Harrison has said he will appeal a fine issued to him at the Delray Beach Open after he refused to do an on-court interview because he was required to wear a mask.


The ATP has slammed the 789th ranked player with a fine of $3000 for refusing to do the mandatory interview. However, Harrison is arguing his case by saying he believed that wearing a mask was optional and has been told by the tournament supervisor he can appeal against the fine. He has previously spoken out against wearing masks after writing last week ‘Healthy enough to play 3 hour matches. But I’m an absolute safety hazard walking maskless through a restaurant.’ On Twitter he also liked a Tweet last month by Political commentator Liz Wheeler who wrote ‘Wear a mask until EVERY person is vaccinated?! Are you insane?’

“Christian Harrison was fined $3,000 for declining the mandatory post-match on-court interview following his second round win over Cristian Garin on Saturday,” the ATP said in a statement.

Arguing his defence Harrison wrote on social media that it is ‘not healthy’ to wear a mask in the sun for longer than necessary after a match. The rule implemented is one of a series that has been taken in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In America, where Harrison is playing at the Delray Beach Open, the country has recorded more deaths from the virus than any other.

“After my second round match I chose not to do my post match interview due to wearing a mask. It’s not healthy to wear a mask in the hot sun for more time than absolutely necessary after a tough match,” he wrote on Instagram.
“I was given the impression it was optional. I wasn’t told I would be fined. That night I was told it is a requirement for T.V. matches and I would be fined. When I spoke to the supervisor the following morning, I was told since I wasn’t notified that it was mandatory I could appeal the fine and it would be taken away. Unless something changes now I still believe that to be true.”

Refusing to admit any wrongdoing, the 26-year-old says he ‘doesn’t agree’ with masking people for the sake of TV. Although he has stated that he will follow the rules in the future.

“I was required to do a sit down interview after the match with the same person which I agreed to and I did not have to wear a mask for it,” he continues.
“It’s not about safety to wear mask for TV to talk to a microphone with no one around . Playing the tournaments I’ll follow whatever is required even if I don’t agree with it. I don’t support masking people for the sake of it for TV.”

The controversy coincides with Harrison’s fairytale run at the Delray Beach Open this week. On Monday he defeated Gianluca Mager 7-6(2), 6-4, to reach the semi-finals of an ATP tournament for the first time in his career. He did wear a mask during his on-court interview following that win. The breakthrough comes after more than a decade of setbacks for Harrison who has undergone a total of eight surgeries on both legs, both hips, his right wrist, and both adductors.

Harrison will play fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the semi-finals.

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