Grigor Dimitrov Tops Halep To Be Named Balkan Athlete Of 2017 - UBITENNIS
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Grigor Dimitrov Tops Halep To Be Named Balkan Athlete Of 2017





World No.3 Grigor Dimitrov has been named Balkan Athlete of Year following his rise on the tour this season.

Dimitrov topped the poll with a total of 62 points, narrowly beating second placed Simona Halep, who had 60 points. A total of nine news agencies across the Balkan region took part in the annual poll, which is in its 45th year. Dimitrov is the first Bulgarian winner since wrestler Stanka Zlateva won the honour back in 2010.

“I am happy to learn that I have been named Best Balkan Athlete of 2017. Good work yields good results. Perseverance, confidence and complete dedication always pay off.” Dimitrov told The Bulgarian News Agency.
“This year has been strong and special for me and my coaching team. I want to thank my family and my team, and all who believe in me and support me in bad times and in good times.”

Official results show that Dimitrov was awarded points from every news agency that took part in the poll. Apart from Halep, he also finished ahead of track and field stars Ramil Guliyev (200M), Katerina Stefanidi (pole vault) and Sandra Perkovic (Discus). All three of those athletes won a gold medal at this year’s World Athletics Championships.

The 26-year-old has won four titles on the ATP Tour this year. At the Cincinnati Open Dimitrov defeated Nick Kyrgios to win his first Masters 1000 trophy. Then at the end of the season, he became the first player from his country to win the ATP World Tour Finals after defeating David Goffin in the finale. Dimitrov also claimed titles in Brisbane and Sofia, winning 49 out of 68 matches played on the tour this season.

Runner-up Halep has also enjoyed a successful year. The world No.1 is the first player from her country to top the WTA rankings. Halep has featured in five WTA finals, winning her sole title at the Madrid Open in May. Her best grand slam performance occurred at the French Open when she was runner-up to Jelena Ostapenko. Overall, she has won 47 out of 64 matches played this year.

Next year Dimitrov will start his new season at the Brisbane International during the first week of January. Meanwhile, Halep will play at the Shenzhen Open the same week.

Top 10 Balkan athletes of 2017

1. Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria (men’s tennis) – 62 pts
2. Simona Halep, Romania (women’s tennis) – 60 pts
3. Ramil Guliyev, Turkey (men’s sprinting) – 49 pts
4. Katerina Stefanidi, Greece (women’s pole vault) – 48 pts
5. Sandra Perkovic, Croatia (women’s discus throw) – 46 pts
6. Luka Modric, Croatia (men’s football) – 31 pts
7. Eleftherios Petrounias, Greece (men’s artistic gymnastics) – 21 pts
8. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Serbia (men’s basketball) – 19 pts
9. Tijana Boskovic, Serbia (women’s volleyball) – 17 pts
10. Stojance Stoilov, Macedonia (men’s handball) – 16 pts

List of agencies involved in the voting process

Agerpres (Romania), Anadolu Agency (Turkey), ANA-MPA (Greece), ATA (Albania), FENA (Bosnia and Herzegovina), HINA (Croatia), MIA (Macedonia), MINA (Montenegro), Tanjug (Serbia) and BTA (Bulgaria).

Source: BTA.BG

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Miomir Kecmanovic saves six match points to beat Daniel Evans in Tokyo




Miomir Kecmanovic saved six match points in a single game, including one with a tweener, to beat Daniel Evans 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-4) reaching the quarter final at the Rakuten Japan Open in Tokyo. 


Kecmanovic won the opening set 6-3 with a single break in the sixth game. He went up a break at love in the first game of the second set, but Evans broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The British player earned his second break in the fourth game and held his next service games to seal the second set 6-3. 

Kecmanovic broke in the fourth game to take a 4-1 lead, but Evans pulled back on serve to win four consecutive games earning a chance to serve for the match. 

Kecmanovic went down 0-40, as Evans was serving at 5-4 in the third set. The Serbian player broke serve in a four-deuce game, but he wasted a match point on return at 6-5, before winning the final four points to seal the tie-break 7-4. 

“That was the first time that I was able to do that. I was tuned out of the match and I just went for it in that moment. It was the first time I ever made a tweener in a match. I am beyond happy that I was able to do it. I had a lot of ups and downs, especially in the third set , being 4-1. Somehow I managed to stay in, and thankfully I am still here”, said Kecmanovic. 

Frances Tiafoe beat Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-1 7-6 (9-7) in the opening match. Tiafoe earned three breaks to cruise through to a 6-1 lead. Zapata Miralles earned his first break in the third game to take a 3-1 lead. Tiafoe broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both Zapata Miralles and Tiafoe saved a break point in the the 10th and 11th games. Tiafoe went up a mini-break twice in the mini-break, but Zapata Miralles pulled back on serve both times. 

Tiafoe sealed the win on his fifth match point to reach his sixth quarter final of the season. The US player won his 13th tie-break to reach the quarter finals for the first time in Tokyo.

“I think handling those big moments, tie-breaks and stuff like that, the key is focusing on what you can focus on and just playing to win, playing aggressive. I have a lot of shots in the book, so I am trying to make the match on my terms and have that belief”, said Tiafoe. 

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Billie Jean King Praises Grand Slam Semi-Finalist Nadia Podoroska For Coming Out

The Argentine recently marked her girlfriend’s birthday with an Instagram post which was also the first time she went public about her personal life.




Tennis legend Billie Jean King has congratulated Nadia Podoroska on being her authentic self after the tennis star recently confirmed she is in a same-sex relationship with another player. 


Podoroska, who shot to the limelight at the 2021 French Open by reaching the semi-finals before being hampered by injury, made a low key coming out on social media. In an Instagram post, the tennis star uploaded a series of photos of her with her girlfriend along with the caption “Today I celebrate you from afar, but I feel you by my side every day of my life.’ The post was done to mark her birthday. 

Fellow player Guillermina Naya is Podoroska’s partner and the two have been in a relationship for some time, according to Women’s Tennis Blog. Naya, who is also from Argentina, is currently ranked 814th in the world but has been as high as 533rd. Although she has not played on the Tour this year. 

Due to injury problems, Podoroska was unable to start her 2022 season until July on the lower-level ITF Tour. Since then she has made steady progress by reaching the final of an ITF W60 event in Gran Canaria and more recently reaching the semi-finals of the Chennai Open in India. 

“I had been suffering from physical discomfort in one leg. I decided to stop in order to recover. Then I had a bone oedema, I couldn’t walk, and I had to wear a boot. Then I got a knee injury in the other leg,” she said of her injury woes during an interview with Clay Tennis.

The 25-year-old credits her girlfriend Naya for the support she received during her 10-month absence from the sport. She is the latest player on the WTA Tour to open up about their sexuality, joining the likes of Daria Kasatkina, Alison Van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen.

“Congratulations to WTA player ⁦⁦Nadia Podoroska ⁩ on her announcement. Living authentically takes such courage, but it is always worth it,” multiple Grand Slam champion King wrote on Twitter. 

In response to the post, the tennis star also paid tribute to King for the impact she has had on the sport. King helped form the WTA Tour and was a key figure in the fight to equal prize money during the early part of the Open Era. She was also one of the first world-class athletes to publicly come out as gay back in 1981. 

Whilst there are various female LGBT players in tennis, there are still no openly gay players on the men’s Tour. 

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Iga Swiatek reaches her eleventh quarter final of the season in Ostrava




World number 1 Iga Swiatek has reached her eleventh quarter final this year at the Agel Open in Ostrava after Ajla Tomljanovic was forced to withdraw from the match due to a left knee injury, when she was trailing 7-5 2-2. 


Swiatek raced out to a 4-1 lead with a break in the second game and came two points from a 5-1 lead, but Tomljanovic held serve. 

Tomljanovic broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4 and held two break points, but she was not able to convert them. Swiatek converted her second set point, as Tomljanovic netted a volley. 

All four games of the second set went to deuce. Tomljanovic earned an early break in the first game of the second set. Swiatek broke straight back in the second game after a six-deuce game. Tomljanovic started to clutch saved a break point to hold serve at deuce before retiring from the match. 

“We played in Toronto and I saw in the US Open how well Ajla played. It seems she is really on a roll and she is playing better and better. It was a great match and it’s unfortunate that something happened. I hope she is going to recover quickly”, said Swiatek. 

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