Mats Wilander Believes Nerves Caused Venus Williams’ US Open Exit - UBITENNIS
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Mats Wilander Believes Nerves Caused Venus Williams’ US Open Exit

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Venus Williams (zimbio.com)

The pressure got too much for Venus Williams in the semifinals of the US Open, according to former world No.1 Mats Wilander.

 

Williams missed out of a place in her first final at Flushing Meadows since 2002 after crashing out in three sets to Sloane Stephens. The 37-year-old hit a costly six double faults and 51 unforced errors throughout the two-hour match. Enabling Stephens to power her way into her maiden grand slam final.

“Venus looked a little bit nervous, she looked a little bit nervous in the Wimbledon final too, which is understandable at 37 years old because you’re not going to have many more chances,” Wilander told Reuters.

Chances came and went for Williams during the deciding set as she only managed to convert 2 out of her seven break point opportunities. Partly due to some sublime defensive player from her opponent, who is only playing in his fifth tournament of the year following a foot injury.

“The match-up is bad for her because Stephens gets everything back in play, she’s so fast and shots that usually are winners for her, she has to hit again and hit again and it’s not really Venus’s strength,” said Wilander.
“She likes to hit a couple or three shots and then the rally is over.”

As a result of her loss, Venus ends the season still searching for her first major title since 2008. On the other hand, she had managed to reach the semifinals or better at three grand slam events within the same year for the first time since 2002. Defying the limitations of age.

“She should have won the match but she’s had so much success in her career and when you keep pushing the envelope and keep playing, things turn around and you’re not going to have the same success at some point.” The Swede commented about Williams.

‘I wasn’t playing well’

In her own assessment of the match, a disappointed Williams admitted that she was far from her best form. Illustrated by her unforced error count. A trend that has also caused her difficulty during other matches at the US Open.

“I just wasn’t playing well. Those are moments where you have to dig deep and figure out how to get the ball on the court and have a big game.” Williams explained. “I can’t be tentative and try to figure out how to put that ball in.”

Vowing to ‘continue to play tennis,’ the five-time grand slam champion still has the hunger to succeed. Although she is yet to win a title in 2017. Should she finish the year without one, it will be the first time since 2013.

“For me, it’s about putting myself in the position all the time to get the titles, and that’s exactly what I did.” She said about her US Open performance. “That’s all I could do. So that’s the point of being here is to put yourself in position to win.”

This year is the 20th anniversary of when the world No.9 made her Flushing Meadows debut.

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Great Britain and Germany secure their spot in the quarter finals

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Great Britain secured their spot in the quarter final of the Davis Cup at the Caja Magica in Madrid with a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan.

 

Kyle Edmund, who replaced Andy Murray, beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 6-3 in the first singles match. Edmund saved all the break points he faced and broke serve in the sixth game of the second set to take a 4-2 lead and converted his first match point when Kukushkin hit a forehand long.

Alexander Bublik came back from losing the first set to beat Dan Evans 5-7 6-4 6-1. Bublik broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. Evans broke straight back to draw level to 4-4. Evans rallied from 15-40 to break serve at deuce in the 12th game to take a 7-5 lead.

Bublik converted his fourth break point in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4 sending the second set 6-4. Bublik broke three times to clinch the third set 6-1.

Jamie Murray and Neal Stupski beat Mikhail Kukushkin and Alexander Bublik 6-1 6-4. Murray and Kukushkin cruised through to a 6-1 win in the first set before breaking twice in the second set. The British team secured the win on their second match point.

“We played a great match from start to finish. We started quickly, were aggressive and did not give them time to settle”, said Jamie Murray.

Germany set up a quarter final against Great Britain after beating Chile 2-1. Phillip Kohlschreiber beat Nicolas Jarry 6-4 6-3 in the opening match. Christian Garin came back from losing the first set to beat Jan Lennard Struff 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (10-8) after saving three match points. Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies beat Barrios and Tabilo 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to secure Germany the decisive 2-1 win.

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American No.3 Reilly Opelka Blasts ‘Shocking’ ATP Cup

The new event has been described as unfair and a embarrassment by the American.

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MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 19: Reilly Opelka of United States during the Group F match between USA and Canada during Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2019 at Caja Magica on November 19, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Corinne Dubreuil / Kosmos Tennis)

With the Davis Cup currently under close scrutiny this week, one player on the tour have turned his criticism to a brand new team event coming to the tour in 2020.

 

Reilly Opelka has launched a verbal attack on the ATP Cup, which will get underway in January. The event features 24 teams playing in three cities across Australia. Unlike the Davis Cup, both prize money and ranking points are available. Many of the world’s top players have already confirmed their intention to play in the event. Although one noticeable absence will be Roger Federer.

“The ATP Cup is pathetic. I think it’s shocking on behalf of the ATP for them to pass that and allow that.” The 22-year-old told reporters in Madrid.
“It’s pretty embarrassing, actually. It’s pretty bad for the sport. It makes it (the tour) more top-heavy than it already is.”

The teams for the ATP Cup are determined by the ranking of the country’s highest ranked player. However, with only two singles players allowed to play in each team some countries find themselves in a tough spot. Once being America, who currently has eight players in the top 100. Opelka argues that due to the rules of the competition, the distribution of ranking points is unfair.

“I’m 35 in the world. I’m not going to play because I’m the second- or third-highest ranked American, and only the top two guys play.” He stated.
“It counts as an additional 19th tournament. So every player gets 18 tournaments on their ranking card. So you have to take your top 18 results, those go for your ranking. Those that play ATP Cup gets a 19th. So it’s unfair, there’s not equal opportunity for everyone.”

Opelka used the example of Moldova playing in the ATP Cup as one of the reasons why he is frustrated. The country has qualified due to the ranking of their top player Radu Albot, who is currently ranked 46th in the world. However, Moldova’s second highest ranked player is outside the top 800.

Fortunately concerning the Davis Cup, the former Wimbledon junior champion has a much more favourable view. This week is the inaugural week-long finals, which has encountered some blips already. The most being the schedule of the event with some ties now finishing until as late as 4am.

“I’m a fan of the new format. Maybe making it every two years or every three years would be I think the next step in the right direction.” Opelka concluded.
“Tennis players are pretty good at that. You don’t really know when you’re going to play matches. You can go really long, or you can go really quick. We’re used to being on standby.” He added.

This week is Opelka’s debut in the Davis Cup.

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Dayana Yastremska Appoints Former Naomi Osaka Mentor As Coach

The youngster is hoping to build on her 2019 breakthrough next year with a new coach by her side.

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Dayana Yastremska - Zhuhai 2019 (photo credit: WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai)

Rising star Dayana Yastremska will head into the 2020 season under new guidance of the 2018 WTA Coach of the Year winner Sasha Bajin.

 

The 19-year-old confirmed her new coach in a Facebook post published on Thursday morning. Bajin is best known for his work with former world No.1 Naomi Osaka, who won two grand slam titles whilst working with him, as well as her first Premier title in Indian Wells. The two ended their collaboration shortly after the Australian Open earlier this year. Since then, Bajin briefly worked with Kristina Mladenovic before deciding to depart.

“I am very happy to share the news that I am starting the 2020 season with a new coach!” Yastremska wrote.
“I am extremely happy, and I am very excited to start our collaboration as it is going to be very interesting and impressive work. I am confident that he (Bajin) can help me in achieving my ambitions.’
“I’m Super excited for the beginning of our pre-season preparation and I am confident that everything works out!”

In recent weeks there has been speculation about the two joining forces on the tour. During the WTA Elite finals in China, the world No.22 was asked about the rumours concerning her team speaking with Bajin. However, at the time she dodged the question by replying ‘I would like to build a great team, but for now I won’t say anything about it.’

Yastremska has enjoyed her best season on the tour yet in his career and broke into the world’s top 30 back in September. She is currently at a career ranking high of 22nd. On the tour in 2019, the Ukrainian has clinched two WTA titles in Hua Hin and Strasburg. In the grand slams, she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time.

As of this week, Yastremska is one of only four players under the age of 20 who are in the world’s top 30.

Elsewhere on the WTA Tour there has been another development on the coaching front. Former world No.1 Angelique Kerber has confirmed that she will be working with Didi Kindlmann. A former hitting partner with Maria Sharapova, who have previously worked with Elise Mertens and Ajla Tomljanović. Kerber is currently ranked 20th in the world compared to 12 months ago when she was in second spot.

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