Five Facts About The 2017 US Open Women’s Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Five Facts About The 2017 US Open Women’s Semifinals



Sloane Stephens (

Thursday at the US Open will see the Arthur Ashe stadium dominated by American flags for women’s semifinals day. On what will be an historic occasion, Venus Williams will take on Sloane Stephens followed by Coco Vandeweghe against Madison Keys in the evening session. A lot is at stake for all four women, but here are the five key things to take note of.


It will be an historic all-American affair

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It has been 22 years since four American women reach the semifinals of a major tournament. On that occasion it was Chris Evert, Kathy Rinaldi, Zina Garrison and eventual champion Martina Navratilova at the 1985 Wimbledon Championships.

“It’s really amazing, not only for myself but just for American tennis.” Keys said after her win over Knepi. “I’m really excited and proud of all of us for getting this far and having it going to be USA all the way.”

Overall, it is the sixth time in the Open Era that both semi finals of a grand slam has been an all-American encounter and the first time at the US Open since 1981. The five previous times occurred over a six-year period between 1979-1985.

Regardless of who wins, Flushing meadows will host their first final featuring two home players since Serena Williams defeated defeating sister Venus in 2002.

 Venus’ age-defying record

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At 37 years and 85 days, Venus is the oldest US Open semifinalist of the past 20 years. Only Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova has been able to reached the last four of a grand slam at an older age.

“I think Venus is just our leader. I think as a whole, she’s just like what everyone looks up to. She’s a great player, a great person. She’s a great leader.” Stephens said about the five-time champion.

Should she reach the final, Venus would be the second oldest finalist in the Open Era and then could potentially become the oldest grand slam champion!

Stephens’ underdog status

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Missing 11 months of the tour due to a foot injury, Stephens didn’t return to the practice court until May this year. Now in only her fifth tournament of 2017, she is within touching distance of her maiden major final.

Currently ranked 83rd in the world, she is the seventh player in history to reach the last four ranked outside the top 50. She has joined a list that includes King (1979), Kim Clijsters (2009), Angelique Kerber (2011), Flavia Pennetta (2013), Caroline Wozniacki (2016) and Venus (1997).

“Being injured gave me a whole new perspective on tennis, on life, and just in general.” Explained Stephens. “I think now I play tennis for a living, and I enjoy it and I have a great time. I don’t think there is anything else I’d rather be doing.”

Should she win her match on Thursday, Stephens will become the 14th unseeded player to reach a grand slam final in the Open Era. The second of the year after Jelena Ostapenko at the French Open.

Venus’ wealth of experience

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This year is the 20th anniversary of when Venus first played as a pro at the US Open. At the tournament she has played 91 singles matches, winning 75 of those. To put that into perspective, Stephens and Keys have only won 13 at Flushing Meadows. Meanwhile, Vandeweghe is on 9.

“I feel great, so to me it’s nothing.” Venus responded when questioned about her age. “You have to have the desire to want to be here and you have to have the health. That’s all you need.”

Throughout her career the 37-year-old has already played 22 grand slam semi-finals. This is over six-times more than the other three semifinalists combined (three). Out of those, she has won 16 of them.

Player’s win-loss record in grand slam semifinals (before the 2017 US Open)
Venus Williams – 16-6
Madison Keys – 0-1
Coco Vandeweghe 0-1
Sloane Stephens 0-1

Vandeweghe’s 12-month rise

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Out of the quartet, Vandeweghe is the only player who has managed to improve her ranking compared to 12 months ago. Rising from 30th to 22nd. Although both Keys and Stephens has endured injury problems over that period.

The 25-year-old is currently 25-14 on the tour this season, but enjoyed a rankings jump thanks to her run to the last four of the Australian Open in January. Regardless of how she performs for the rest of the tournament, Vandeweghe will rise to a new ranking best after the US Open.

Players ranking at the 2016 US Open
Venus Williams – 6th
Sloane Stephens – 25th
Madison Keys – 9th
Coco Vandeweghe – 30th

Players ranking at the 2017 US Open
Venus Williams – 9th (-3)
Sloane Stephens – 83 (-58)
Madison Keys – 16th (-7)
Coco Vandeweghe – 22nd (+8)


‘Super happy’ Holger Rune Reacts To Winning First Match Since Wimbledon In Beijing



Holger Rune says he is pain-free and has gained confidence since reuniting with his former coach after ending his seven-match losing streak at the China Open. 


Rune, who is the third seed in Beijing this week, beat former top 10 player Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-4, in his opening match on Friday. The Dane fired 15 winners compared to only three unforced errors during the 85-minute encounter. It is the first time he has won a match on the Tour since Wimbledon in July.

“It feels very good. I had a tough period both with my body and with matches,” said Rune. “I’m happy to be back feeling good and feeling mentally well off the court. I’m super happy with my level today.”

The 20-year-old is experiencing a roller-coaster season where he reached the final of two Masters 1000 events and won a title in Germany during the first six months. However, recently he has struggled for wins on the Tour and ended his collaboration with Patrick Mouratoglou. 

On top of that, Rune has also been hampered by a back injury which he recently underwent treatment on before coming to China. He previously told Danish TV that he had a pinched nerve in the fifth lumbar vertebra in his spine since the clay-court season. As a result, he has had to make adjustments to his service motion to overcome this problem. 

“I didn’t feel any pain in my body,” he stated following his latest match. 
“I’m feeling healthy and taking care of my body. Mostly I’m happy to play without pain and enjoy myself.”

Guiding the world No.4 now is Lars Christensen who he has previously worked with since childhood. 

“It has helped my confidence. After some tough periods, he knows me so well,” Rune commented. “He knows when I’m back at my best level so it is easy for us to communicate and find the best version of Holger. That we did today.”

Rune will next play Grigor Dimitrov who staged an epic comeback to defeat Mackenzie McDonald. The Bulgarian was a set and 5-2 down before fighting back to prevail 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-1, over the American who was experiencing problems with his shoulder. 

Medvedev, Sinner though in contrasting matches

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In other matches at the tournament, second seed Daniil Medvedev stormed to a 6-2, 6-1, win over Tommy Paul. He has now recorded 39 hardcourt wins on the Tour so far this season which is more than any other player. 

“It’s not easy for both of us. Both of us a little jet lagged. Him maybe more, coming from Vancouver,” Medvedev said afterward. “Maybe that made the difference, but if I think only about myself, I’m happy with my level. 
“I played great. The start of the match was not easy, but it’s never easy first round, especially in another part of the world. Then I was playing better and better during the match, so I’m happy about my level.”

This week is the first time Medvedev has played since losing to Novak Djokovic in the US Open final. He is seeking to win his fifth title of 2023. 

Also through to the next round is Italy’s Jannik Sinner who struggled at times with his fitness during his troublesome 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3, win over Dan Evans. The world No.7 served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but failed to capitalize on the opportunity, lost a 3-0 lead in the decider and then started limping on the court. During the closing stages, he also fell when trying to return a ball and appeared to hurt himself. Despite all the drama, Sinner still managed to seal the win. 

Sinner is now 16-1 in opening matches this season. He is bidding to reach his 12th tournament quarter-final in Beijing. 

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Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe



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Roger Federer says he would love to see the two highest-ranked players on the men’s Tour play in the next Laver Cup after this year’s tie ended in a crushing defeat for Europe. 


Team World, which is captained by John McEnroe, dominated the clash in Vancouver after surging to a 10-2 lead heading into the final day of competition. On Sunday they were required to win only one match to claim the overall title which they did in the opening doubles match. Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe ousted the European duo of Andrey Rublev and Hubert hurkacz 7-6(4), 7-6(5). 

“I am proud of these guys. We brought together a great group of some youth and experience, guys that have been here before. Everybody played well,” McEnroe said of his team’s 13-2 victory.
“It was an awesome week. We kicked some ass.”
“Winning is a whole lot better than losing. We struggled the first couple of years, and now we have tasted winning and it feels good.”

In contrast, Europe didn’t have much joy at the event with their only victory being from Casper Ruud who defeated Tommy Paul on the second day of the tie. Since the start of the competition in 2017, Europe won four consecutive titles but 2023 is the second year in a row that they have been defeated. 

Hoping that this losing streak will come to an end next year when the event is held in Berlin, Federer says he wishes Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play. Djokovic has played in the Laver Cup twice before but Alcaraz is yet to make his debut.

“They destroyed Team Europe. Team World played fantastic, they really brought the energy. Everybody brought a point, they were stronger in the doubles. In the singles too, they were moving fast, they were ready to go. They thoroughly deserved victory,” said Federer.
“I would like to see Novak again, Alcaraz and Novak on the same team. Sascha Zverev would be great for the German market. Someone like [Holger] Rune, that really hurt Team Europe. Rune and [Stefanos] Tsitsipas pulling out. [Daniil] Medvedev would be great. I like watching [Andrey] Rublev, and maybe someone will come through,” he added.

Federer is a co-founder of the Laver Cup with his management company Team 8 partnering up with Tennis Australia and Jorge Paulo Lemann to create the event. In 2019 the team competition was awarded ATP Tour status with a spot on the official calendar and access to marketing facilities under an agreement. However, ranking points are not awarded to players. 

Due to the nature of the format, only one match was played on Sunday with fans not getting the chance of watching any singles. Something two-time French Open champion Ruud admits is a problem. 

“Two of the times that I have played was maybe in a way a little bit unfortunate with only one deciding doubles (match) on Sunday,” Ruud commented.
“The crowd didn’t get to see a singles (match) after or whatever. That’s not in my hands to decide what the format looks like.’
“But last year in London was great in many ways because you had so many great players and it came down to almost the last match. When I watched on TV the first series, it was so exciting because Roger played a couple of times, the final match of the Sunday and clutched it for Team Europe. It’s been a couple of years without playing that last singles match. But it’s a great initiative. Me, as a golf fan, watching the Ryder Cup all my life in my childhood, it’s great for tennis to have this event.”

The 2024 Laver Cup will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin between September 20-22. 

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India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles



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A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money. 


Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness. 

“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.

Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019. 

Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.

After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).  

“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday. 

Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration. 

“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”

Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland. 

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