For Simona Halep, Having No Expectations Is Key In Madrid - UBITENNIS
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For Simona Halep, Having No Expectations Is Key In Madrid

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Simona Halep (zimbio.com)

MADRID: World No.1 Simona Halep was keen to pour water onto the fire following her latest comprehensive win at the Madrid Open.

 

The Romanian illustrated why she is a two-time champion of the tournament with an emphatic 6-0, 6-3, win over Elise Mertens. A player who recently won back-to-back titles on the clay in Switzerland and Morocco.

Despite the hype surrounding the encounter, in reality it was a one-way show in Halep’s favor. The Romanian dismantled her opponent from the onset, who has been suffering from a bout of Gastroenteritis in recent days. Illustrated by a winner-error ratio of 2-14 from the Belgian in the opening set alone.

In contrast, a more composed Halep stuck to her game plan of hitting deep into the court and moving her rival around. Unfazed by the below-par form of Mertens, she continued to apply the pressure and forcing the errors from her. Eight games went by before Mertens got onto the scoreboard. It wasn’t until the final game of the match where Halep encountered difficulty. Serving for a place in the third round, she squandered four match points before triumphing on her fifth.

“I had to start very strong, the match, and aggressive, which I did. After I played a few games, I felt really good on court.” Halep said in her press conference.
“I think I played well again. Is the second match of the tournament. I have a great feeling. It was a nice match, and I take it like an important one because I played against a girl that won two tournaments on clay so far this year.”

The day-by-day approach

Despite the openness of the WTA Tour, in Madrid Halep is the player to beat for some. She has reached the final in three out of the past four years, winning the title twice. The high altitude of Madrid favors Halep’s heavy-hitting game. Although there are other factors that help her at the tournament.

“I think it’s all about confidence here at this tournament and the pleasure to play. Many friends are coming. My family is here. It’s a feeling like I’m home. Makes me feel more motivated and more relaxed.”

Yet to win a grand slam title, the 26-year-old maintains an easy going outlook for the future. So far this year she has won one trophy at the Shenzhen Open in China. She currently leads the rankings by 1265 points over second placed Caroline Wozniacki.

Despite her current position as the top ranked player, Halep is under no illusion of the threat she faces going into the French Open. Last year the tournament was won by Jelena Ostapenko, who was unseeded in the draw.

“You never know in tennis. You have to take day by day and match by match. At this level, everyone is playing really good tennis, really good level of tennis.” She explained.
“I have just to go there and to be focused, to be motivated to win every match I play, and to wait and see what is going to happen. I don’t want to expect anything. I just want to enjoy and to believe that I have my chance to go through the end.”

Next up in Madrid for the Romanian will be Kristyna Pliskova. A player who defeated Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo in straight sets. Halep has won both of their previous meetings.

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John McEnroe believes that it will be unlikely for Rafael Nadal to play bot the US Open and Roland Garros

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John McEnroe believes that Novak Djokovic is likely to compete at both the US Open and at Roland Garros, provided that he is healthy, but he thinks that Rafael Nadal could skip the US Open.

 

The 2020 ATP season is set to restart next August after a five-month break due to the covid-19 pandemic. The US Open will start on 31st August and end on 13th September. The French Open has been rescheduled from 27th September to 11th October.

“I believe and this is just my feeling, the top players  are going to play both. They have been sitting there and I am assuming most of the top players and some of the younger ones are chomping at the bit to get back out on the court, to compete and see what they have got. You are talking about two of the three majors that remain, that is a huge deal for the players. It has been done before and it won’t affect more than a couple of players. Obviously we presume and hope Novak will be fine and able to compete if he chooses to do so at the US Open”, said McEnroe.  

Rafael Nadal will face the tough challenge to defend both Grand Slam titles at the US Open and Roland Garros and the Masters 1000 trophy in Rome in one month. The Spaniard beat Dominic Thiem in the Roland Garros final becoming the first men’s or women’s player to win a Grand Slam event 12 times (Margaret Court won the Australian Open 11 times). Nadal beat Danil Medvedev in five sets to win his fourth US Open title in New York. According to McEnroe the 19-time Grand Slam champion may take a difficult decision to skip the US Open to focus on his attempt to win the 13th Grand Slam title of his career.

“Rafa is the one you would think that might be a bit tricky for him from hard to clay. That’s not something he likes to do or has done very often. It will be interesting to see if some European players decide not to come over to the USA because of some concerns over renewed outbreaks and it seems as though New York is doing much better. Who knows what is going to happen in the next months. I think it can be done and it sounds as tough they have set it up in a way that is extremely safe and the few people that will be allowed in. I would be surprised if the top players certainly, they have the right not to play, but I would be surprised if they don’t play”, continued McEnroe.

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Australian Open Chief Confident Event Will Take Place In January Amid COVID-19 Jump In Region

Craig Tiley has addressed concerns about the Grand Slam following a new outbreak in Victoria.

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The tournament director of the Australian Open has insisted that plans for next year’s tournament are on track despite a spike in COVID-19 cases around Melbourne.

 

Craig Tiley has stated that the Grand Slam will only take place in the city and there are no backup plans to potentially relocate the event in a worst case scenario. The Australian Open is held annually at Melbourne Park and this year attracted a record attendance of 812,174 people. Although there are concerns about the threat posed by COVID-19 with the Victoria State Government reporting another 66 cases of the virus on Friday. Making it the 17th day the daily infection rate has been in double digits. It is possible that the number could be higher with health minister Jenny Mikakos confirming around 10,000 people have refused to be tested with some claiming the virus to be a ‘conspiracy theory.’

According to ABC News Tiley and his team are planning for six scenarios concerning the Australian Open taking place, including the possibility of holding it behind closed doors. Although he is optimistic that the event and others also set to take place next January will go ahead as planned.

“Nothing has changed for us in terms of our planning,” Tiley told AAP.
“The environment around us has changed, and will continue to change, as we’ve seen with the current spike in Victoria.
“We’re optimistic the additional measures currently in place will be successful — and restrictions will continue to be eased over the coming months.”

The Tournament director has also confirmed that there will be little flexibility concerning the staging of next year’s event. Saying it will only take place in Melbourne and during January if it goes ahead. Although he is keeping a close eye on the two Grand Slams that are set to take place later this season.

“The US Open and the French Open are exploring mandatory testing, varying levels of quarantine and limiting entourages,” he said.
“Of course we are looking at all these options, and more, as part of our scenario planning.
“It’s difficult to predict exactly what will need to be in place as guidelines and protocols are changing week by week, and sometimes even day by day.”

This year’s US Open is set to get underway on August 31st, but will be held behind closed doors for the first time. Meanwhile the French Open, which starts only weeks after the New York major, plans to allow up to 20,000 fans to attend daily. Working out to be roughly 60% of its maximum capacity.

The last time the Australian Open didn’t take place was in 1986 due to a change in its hosting date from December to January. Founded in 1905, it is the youngest out of the four grand slam tournaments.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas recalls his first training session with Roger Federer

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Stefanos Tsitsipas became the youngest ATP Finals champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001 and the fifth youngest player in the 50-year history of the year-end tournament. Tsitsipas fended off 11 of the 12 break points against Roger Federer in the ATP Finals semifinals and 12 of the 12 break points he faced against the Swiss Maestro in the fourth round of the Australian Open before losing to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. During 2019 Federer beat Tsitsipas in two finals in Dubai and Basel. Tsitsipas recalled his first training session with Federer.

 

“First time it was like unbelievable. I thought I was dreaming, honestly. As more you play with him, the more normal it seems but at the same time it can’t seem normal because it’s Roger Federer, it’s not any other player”, said Tsitsipas.

When Indian Wells was cancelled due to the pandemic, Tsitispas was never going to wait for the Tour to resume. As there was uncertainty about the Miami Open, he could not return to Greece. He made a short road trip to visit a group called “Yes Fam”, whose goal is to spread a philosophy of positivity. Tsitsipas talked about what he learnt from Federer.

“Expressing myself more. I spent a lot of time with him during the Laver Cup in September and I learned a lot of things from him. Even the way you carry yourself, the way you speak, the way you think you can pass this to someone else. I felt really inspired”, recalled Tsitsipas.

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