Madison Keys Finds Form To Reach Last Eight in Charleston - UBITENNIS
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Madison Keys Finds Form To Reach Last Eight in Charleston

Madison Keys reached her third quarter-final in Charleston by beating Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-3, while Daria Kasatkina and Julia Goerges beat Irina-Camelia Begu and Naomi Osaka respectively to set up a last eight meeting.

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Madison Keys reached her third quarter-final in Charleston after producing a commanding performance to beat Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-3.

 

The win ends a run of three straight losses for the American and it is her best showing at an event since she reached the same stage at the Australian Open.

“I’m really happy to get some back-to-back matches in and looking forward to more,” Keys said in her on-court interview.

The 2017 US Open finalist made an excellent start to the match as she raced into a 5-1 lead. Then Giorgi found some rhythm. Having struggled to cope with the American’s consistency from the back of the court, the Italian responded in the only way she knows: by being very aggressive.

It worked for a while as Giorgi started to hit winners and dragged the score back to 5-4 in Keys’ favour. This prompted the American to summon her coach Lindsay Davenport.

The three-time Grand Slam champion encouraged Keys to ensure she moved as well as possible and make Giorgi play extra balls when the Italian served in the next game.

The World No.14 clearly listened as she drew two errors from Giorgi, hit a precise forehand winner to make it 0-40 and then sealed the break and the set with an excellent forehand pass.

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Set two went comfortably with serve for the opening three games before an error-strewn game from the Italian handed Keys a break and a 3-1 lead.

The American also made a lot of errors in the next game but, unlike her opponent, she managed to hang onto her serve. This proved to be crucial, as Keys hit four aces and a stunning forehand winner en route to two easy holds to polish off an easy victory.

The 7th seed will now play fellow American Bernarda Pera in the last eight after the World No.101 edged out Sara Errani 6-3 2-6 6-4.

“I’m really happy with how today went,” said Keys in her on-court interview. “I thought Camila played really well and I’m just really happy with the win.”

The American talked about what it was like facing Giorgi. She said, “I think the biggest thing is just weathering the storm. She’s going to hit some amazing shots, and it was really just me trying to get one more ball in.”

Kasatkina to face Goerges in last eight

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In the other half of the draw, defending champion Daria Kasatkina hammered Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2 6-1 in just 65 minutes to book her place in the last eight.

The Russian, who was the runner-up at Indian Wells, hit 13 winners and earned six breaks of serve as she dominated her Romanian opponent from start to finish.

After the win, Kasatkina said she is “more mature” than she was when she won the title last year. That increased maturity has showed in the Russian’s tennis in 2018 as she has already reached two finals and a semi-final at Premier events.

Kasatkina, 20, will play Julia Goerges in the quarter-finals after the German beat Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka 7-6(4) 6-3.

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The Japanese player started stronger and opened up a 4-2 lead in the first set. However, Goerges used all the weapons in her game to break back and restore parity.

She drew an error with a clever sliced backhand and defended outstandingly to outlast Osaka and make it 0-30. Then the German produced a stunning combination to set up three break points. She hit a venomous forehand return out wide before slicing a vicious backhand across court that the Japanese could only clip into the net.

Osaka did superbly to save all three, but Goerges did not give up. She hit two massive groundstrokes – one on each side – that were too hot for the World No.21 to handle to win the next points and clinch the break she needed.

After another break apiece and three love holds, the German won a tie-break littered with errors to take the first set. However, the second set was much more comfortable for Goerges as, with the exception of one poor game, she dominated on serve to win it 6-3.

“Today proved again that I’ve developed in the right direction because a few years ago I might not have won a match like this,” Goerges said in her on-court interview. “I managed to find a way (to win) against probably one of the hottest players on tour right now.”

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Bianca Andreescu Reunites With Former Coach Ahead Of New Season 

How will the Grand Slam champion fair on the Tour with her latest mentor?

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BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has brought a familiar face back into her team as she bids to return to her best form in 2023. 

 

Andreescu, who is currently ranked 45th in the WTA rankings, has appointed Christophe Lambert as her latest coach. Lambert had been working as the performance director at Tennis New Zealand and resigned from that position to work with the former US Open champion. He had also previously worked for Tennis Canada and during that time he was a private coach for Andreescu in 2016. 

“Bianca asked me to coach her and I accepted the job. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Lambert told sport.co.nz. 

Lambert, who has also spent time working with the Chinese Davis Cup team and for the British LTA, has stayed in contact with Andreescu ever since coaching her six years ago. 

“It wasn’t like every week or every month. It’s always good to have people calling you when you are up, but when she was down I was checking on her and giving her my opinion.” He said. 

Andreescu had been working with Dutch coach Sven Groeneveld for over a year before they decided to end their collaboration in October. Groeneveld has a wealth of experience in the sport after working with a series of top names, including Maria Sharapova. 

This season the former world No.4 has won 20 out of 33 matches played with her best performance being a run to the final of the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. However, her record against top 10 opposition was 2-5.

“I’m just taking it day by day, and it’s a great way to end off the year as well, just bringing back all the emotions that fire a lot in me,” Andreescu recently told reporters in Glasgow at the Billie Jean King Cup. “I think I’m going to have a great preseason. Next year I really think I can crack the top 10 again.”

Andreescu, who has been hampered by injury issues in recent years, hasn’t won a singles title of any sort since 2019. 

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Four-Time Grand Slam Winner Naomi Osaka Named In FTX Lawsuit 

The former world No.1 took an equity stake in the failed business earlier this year. 

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NAOMI OSAKA OF JAPAN - PHOTO: ALVARO DIAZ / MMO

Naomi Osaka is among a series of high-profile individuals who have been accused of using their celebrity status to promote FTX’s failed business model in a lawsuit filed against the cryptocurrency exchange. 

 

The BBC has reported that over one million people and businesses could be owed money following the collapse of FTX, according to bankruptcy filings. A week ago FTX collapsed into bankruptcy with its former boss Sam Bankman-Fried stepping down as CEO. A massive development in the financial for what was one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world that had the naming rights to a Formula One racing team as well as a sports arena in Miami.

According to the Associated Press, the company is being investigated by state and federal prosecutors over allegations it ‘invested depositors’ funds in ventures without their approval.’ In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, it argues that celebrity backers of FTX such as Osaka should be held just as accountable as Bankman-Fried as they brought ‘instant credibility’ to the company. 

“Part of the scheme employed by the FTX Entities involved utilizing some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment — like these Defendants — to raise funds and drive American consumers to invest … pouring billions of dollars into the deceptive FTX platform to keep the whole scheme afloat,” the lawsuit said.

Osaka took an equity stake in FTX in March where she would be receiving compensation in Crypto. Signing what was described as a ‘long-term partnership’ to become a global ambassador, the tennis star aimed to draw attention to women joining the platform and she played a role in directing its content.

“We have seen the statistics about how few women are part of crypto by comparison, which kind of mirrors the inequality we see in other financial markets,” Osaka said earlier this year.

Osaka, who has won 14 out of 23 matches played this season, has not made any public statement regarding the lawsuit. NFL quarterback Tom Brady, comedian Larry David and basketball team the Golden State Warriors are also defendants in the lawsuit.

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WTA Targets New Multi-Year Deal For Its Premier Event If Agreement With China Fails

Will the WTA Finals return to Shenzhen in 2023?

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WTA CEO Steve Simon

The WTA say they are not willing to compromise their principles concerning the possibility of hosting tournaments in China next year amid uncertainty over the future of their season-ending event. 

 

Steve Simon, who is the CEO of the women’s Tour, says he is hopeful that a resolution can be found with the country but has vowed now to back down on its stance. Last year the WTA suspended tournaments in China over concerns about the safety of former player Peng Shuai who accused a former government official of sexually assaulting her. 

Shuai disappeared shortly after posting her statement on social media before returning a few weeks later with photos and videos of her being posted online by journalists linked to the government-controlled media. There are concerns that the former doubles Grand Slam champion, who has not left her country since making those allegations, is being censored by the government. The WTA wants an investigation to be conducted into the matter. 

“We’ve made a strong stand, and we stand behind that stance, and we’re not going to compromise our principles,” Simon said during an interview with The New York Times. “Clearly when we did it, we understood eyes wide open what it could mean.”
“We’re still in the same place. If they come forward with something else we should look at, of course we are open to it. But we haven’t seen it so far. I’m hopeful we do find a resolution. That’s the goal, to find the right resolution. What’s the truth? Then we can move forward.” He added. 

Simon said he is confident that Shuai is safe in Beijing but he has not been able to make any direct contact with her, despite trying to on multiple occasions. A letter reportedly written by Shuai to the WTA was posted online in 2021 saying that she wishes to be left alone. However, many have doubted the authenticity of that letter with some fearing that she wrote it under duress. 

One of the biggest impacts of the fallout has involved the prestigious WTA Finals, which is a round-robin tournament featuring the eight best-performing players over the past 12 months. In 2018 a lucrative deal was agreed that paved the way for the event to be held in Shenzhen for 10 years. However, the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before the next two additions were moved elsewhere.

Whilst the WTA is optimistic about a return to Shenzhen in 2023, there are also backup plans in the works. Simon confirmed that it is no longer feasible for the WTA Finals to be held in a location for just one year. So it is likely that the tournament would be held in a city for two or more years in a row if it doesn’t return to China next season. 

“We’re not going to continue to do these one-year decisions,” he said. “It’s not sustainable. If it looks like we can’t go back to China or aren’t ready to go back, then I do think we will carve out a multiyear situation, because we need to for the business.”

The case involving Shuai isn’t the only barrier for the WTA. China’s zero-covid policy has made hosting international events in the region unfeasible and the ATP cancelled all of their events in the tournament this year due to the situation. 

This year’s WTA Finals has a prize money offering of $5M which is more than half of what was on offer at the 2019 tournament in Shenzhen ($14M). 

Simon didn’t provide any deadline for when an agreement must be reached with China must be reached before the WTA considers moving their event elsewhere once again. 

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