Stan Wawrinka Encouraged By Improvement Ahead Of Sofia Challenge - UBITENNIS
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Stan Wawrinka Encouraged By Improvement Ahead Of Sofia Challenge

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Three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka believes he is heading in the right direction as he continues his comeback from a knee injury.

 

The former world No.3 missed six months of the tour after undergoing surgery on his left knee. He returned to action last month at the Australian Open, where he lost in the second round to Tennys Sandgren. It was the first time he lost in the second round at Melbourne since 2008.

Despite the defeat, Wawrinka is relishing his return to the tour. His next challenge will be at this week’s Sofia Open in Bulgaria where he is the top seed. Wawrinka steps in to replace Grigor Dimitrov, who pulled out of the tournament due to a shoulder problem.

“I am really happy to come for the first time in Bulgaria, in Sofia. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the tournament.” He said during an interview with Nova TV.
“I came back from Australia with a lot of work to do for my knee, for my tennis-wise. I felt better this week, so I decided that it may be a good option for me to start a little bit earlier with tournaments.”

Chasing after his first title since May, the 32-year-old believes that he is gradually returning back to top form. The Swiss player currently finds himself at 15th in the ATP Emirates rankings due to his recent absence. In Sofia he will be aiming to win back-to-back matches for the first time since his run to the French Open final.

“I am feeling better and better and starting to come back to my top level. I am happy with all the improvement I am making and I am happy to back in the tour.” He explained.

Wawrinka is eager to not be labelled a favourite for the title due to his recent injury woes. Although he is the only top 20 player participating in this year’s draw, the Swiss admits that he still has a way to go to return back to his best tennis.

“I always come into a tournament to play my best tennis. I am not even there yet.” He said.
“I didn’t play for six months and I had only one tournament in Australia. So I think it isn’t easy. I know what I can do, I know what my level can be when I am playing good tennis. But first of all I am really happy to be back on the Tour and to come to Sofia for the first time.”

Handed a first round bye, Wawrinka will get his Sofia campaign underway against either wild card entrant Alexander Donski or a yet to be decided qualifier.

List of seeds at the 2018 Sofia Open

Player Rank Seed
Stan Wawrinka 15 1
Adrian Mannarino 25 2
Gilles Müller 28 3
Philipp Kohlschreiber 35 4
Robin Haase 42 5
Viktor Troicki 67 6
João Sousa 68 7
Evgeny Donskoy 71 8

Note: rankings based on week commencing 5/2/18

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John Peers and Filip Polasek claim their first team doubles title in Indian Wells

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John Peers and Filip Polasek won their first team title with a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) win over Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. 

 

Peers and Polasek were not able to convert two match points at 5-3 on Rublev’s serve and were broken in the next game when they were serving for the match. Both teams traded breaks en route to the tie-break. The Australian and Slovakian team came back from 3-5 down by winning five consecutive games to claim the second set 7-5. 

Peers and Polasek reached the San Diego final in the build-up to Indian Wells. 

“It’s always great fun getting back to the desert and playing here. To be able to say we have won the title here is very special. We started pretty slow as but we put in some good work pre-US Open. It’s been a lot of fun since and we have continued to work and enjoy playing together. We were riding the doubles rollercoaster and will try to get results like this more often. We are looking forward to continuing together”,said Peers.  

Polasek claimed his 16th title and his second Masters 1000 trophy following Cincinnati in 2019. 

“I am really happy the way we played. We came here early, which helped us to adapt to the conditions. It was very different to play in the day than in the night sessions, which we played in our last matches. We were able to adapt the best of all teams”, said Polasek. 

Rublev and Karatsev were on a eight-match winning streak. They claimed the Doha title earlier this year. 

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Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days

The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.

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Image via twitter.com/atptour (Alexander Scheuber)

The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.

 

Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.

There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.

“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”

Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.

Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.

Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.

“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.

Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.

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Cameron Norrie reaches his first Masters 1000 final with straight-set win over Grigor Dimitrov

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Cameron Norrie broke at the beginning of each set to beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-4 moving into his first ATP Masters 1000 final at Indian Wells. 

 

Norrie has moved ahead of Felix Auger Aliassime in 11th place in the ATP Race to Turin. Should the British player wins the final against either Nikoloz Basilashvili or Taylor Fritz, he would overtake Jannik Sinner in 10th position and to within 125 points of Hubert Hurkacz. 

Norrie earned his first break in a hard-fought opening game. The Brit held two service games and got a double break to race out to a 4-0 lead. Dimitrov won two consecutive games, but Norrie earned another break, as Dimitrov sent a forehand wide. Norrie closed out the first set after 31 minutes. 

Norrie went up an early break after a long first game of the second set. The British player saved a break point to hold serve at deuce and won his next service games to close out the second set 6-4. 

Norrie has claimed his 46th match of the year. He is looking to win his second title of the season following his triumph in Los Cabos. He has played in five finals in Estoril, Lyon, London Queen’s, Los Cabos and San Diego.  

Norrie, who started the year as the world number 71, will break into the top 20. He will become the top British player in the ATP Ranking replacing Dan Evans. 

Dimitrov was tired after rallying from a set and a double break down to beat US Open champion Danil Medvedev in the fourth round and winning a third-set tie-break against Hurkacz in the quarter final. 

“I am becoming more and more comfortable In Indian Wells. It was the biggest match of my career, following on from yesterday, which was the biggest match. He made it difficult in the second set. I managed to serve well in those games and get through them. I think I had a very good gameplan today. There was even more pressure today. I came out and played really physical. Grigor was a little tired from the other matches, but he fought hard and made it physical at the start of second set, which wasn’t easy. I have been playing a lot of big matches this year, which has helped. I feel I am used to the big moments and the big matches. I am feeling more and more comfortable and I feel like I am playing on my terms in key moments”,said Norrie. 

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