Seventh time lucky for Caroline Wozniacki as she claims first title of 2017 in Tokyo - UBITENNIS
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Seventh time lucky for Caroline Wozniacki as she claims first title of 2017 in Tokyo

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In her seventh final of 2017, former world number one and third seed Caroline Wozniacki finally claimed her first title of the season with a brilliant 6-0, 7-5 display against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for her third Toray Pan Pacific Open title.

 

It was seventh time lucky for defending champion and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, snapping her 0-6 record in finals in 2017 with her first title of the year at the Toray Pan Pacific Open. The Danish third seed defended her Tokyo title with a brilliant performance against unseeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, claiming her third title in the Japanese capital 6-0, 7-5 in just an hour and 15 minutes to extend her record to an incredible ten straight years with at least one title.

“It feels great. It was really important for me to get there and just stay focused and aggressive and positive. I think I managed to do that, and it feels great to have won the title,” said Wozniacki on her first title in seven finals in 2017.

“I really enjoy playing here in Tokyo. The court suits my game well and I feel good having won the title this year again,” commented the now three-time Toray Pan Pacific Open champion.

In the opening set it was pure domination from Wozniacki, who extended the nine-game winning streak from her 6-2, 6-0 thrashing of world number one Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals into her final today. The defending champion raced out to an early lead, having no problems on serve and breaking an erratic Pavlyuchenkova to go up 3-0 in just six minutes.

The Danish domination continued, taking only 15 minutes to secure a double break and a big 5-0 lead in the first set. Wozniacki wrapped up the opening set in just 20 minutes, breaking her Russian opponent for a third time to secure the bagel set 6-0, her first set in 13 from seven finals this season.

Caroline Wozniacki hits a forehand at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo/Zimbio/Matt Roberts

The world number six secured the opening game of the second set, making it seven straight games in this final and 16 consecutive games from leading 3-2 in the first set of her semifinal with top seed Muguruza. Pavlyuchenkova began to get her footing in the match, holding for the first time and snapping Wozniacki’s run of games to level at 1-all. Two straight holds from each brought the set to 3-all, with the Russian’s confidence far higher than it was 20 minutes ago.

Wozniacki and Pavlyuchenkova continued their strong serving in the second set, with the third seed holding to go up 5-4 and force the unseeded Russian to serve to stay in the match. Some confident, big-hitting from Pavlyuchenkova got her out of trouble, saving a match point and eventually holding for 5-all in a far more competitive second set.

Despite missing out on her first match point, the third-seeded Dane handled the pressure, holding to go back up 6-5 and put the pressure back on her Russian opponent to serve to stay in the match. This time around Wozniacki was not to be denied, breaking Pavlyuchenkova on her third match point to secure a successful Tokyo title defense and first title of 2017 6-0, 7-5.

Despite the second set surge from Pavlyuchenkova, Wozniacki was confident and happy with her brilliant performances of the last two days. Describing the match, the Dane said, “Obviously, she’s a very strong player. She plays very powerfully, takes the ball early, so it was really important for me to make her move, and serve well especially. In the first set, everything was going my way and was going really well.”

“In the second set, she managed to serve a little bit better, so it was tricky for me to break her serve. But I think it was a good match for both,” concluded the third seed.

Caroline Wozniacki hits a backhand at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo/Zimbio/Matt Roberts

By defending her title here in Tokyo, Wozniacki stays at number six in the world and moves into five in the Porsche Race to Singapore, making her very likely to qualify for the year-ending WTA Finals in Singapore. Asked about that accomplishment, the former world number one said, “I’m just happy that it’s been a great year and hopefully I can finish it off strong with the last few events.”

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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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