Unseeded Aryna Sabalenka Reaches Eastbourne Final - UBITENNIS
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Unseeded Aryna Sabalenka Reaches Eastbourne Final

Aryna Sabalenka won a rollercoaster three-set clash with Agnieszka Radwanska to make it through to her first WTA Premier final.

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Aryna Sabalenka continued her remarkable run at the 2018 Nature Valley International with an impressive 6-3 1-6 6-3 win over Agnieszka Radwanska.

 

The result takes her through to her first WTA Premier final and means she will move up to at least No.32 in the new set of world rankings on Monday.

Sabalenka’s match against Radwanska started in bizarre fashion with six consecutive breaks of serve as both players struggled to find their rhythm.

However, there was plenty of good tennis show in that time. Sabalenka cracked three huge winners in succession in game four and then Radwanska flicked a delightful cross-court forehand past her opponent in game five.

Game six was high-quality too, as the Pole hit an excellent backhand volley and the Belarussian unleashed a brutal forehand winner to seal her third break.

The set’s crucial moments came in game seven when Sabalenka became the first player to hold serve. She fought back superbly from 15-40 to do it.

Both players were sloppy in the next game, but the Belarussian managed to find a pair of winners when she needed them most to earn another break. She then held to love to seal the first set.

Radwanska fights back

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In the opening game of the second set, Sabalenka hit an extraordinary return. Radwanska tossed a serve out wide, which most players would have struggled to get a racket to. However, the Belarussian not only reached it, she slammed it around the net onto the side-line for a winner.

Shortly after that, Sabalenka lobbed Radwanska to break her yet again. Things were looking very bad for the Pole at this stage, but it was all about to change.

Having played so well to get to 6-3 and 1-0 with a break, the Belarussian experienced a big dip in performance. It started with four unforced errors as she dropped serve.

Then she watched as Radwanska produced an excellent game to hold serve for the first time in the match. The Pole hit a lovely half-volley winner and a superb forehand pass before sealing it with an unreturnable serve.

Radwanska did not have to do much to win the next game. She hit a beautiful floaty drop shot to win the first point and then put the ball in play repeatedly and enticed Sabalenka to make a series of errors.

The rest of the second set continued in similar fashion. The Belarussian made plenty more errors as she dropped serve twice more, and the former World No.2 eventually sealed the set 6-1 with a classy forehand pass followed by another error from Sabalenka.

Sabalenka steps up

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In stark contrast to the rest of the match, the decider began with four consecutive holds. Radwanska then played two brilliant points in game five, finishing one with a delicate lob and the other with backhand volley, as she broke to lead 3-2.

However, that was the last game the Pole won as Sabalenka dialled up her aggression. She hit three winners to fight back from 40-0 on Radwanska’s serve and break for 3-3.

Then she hit three winners to go 40-0 up, two double faults and an error to fall back to deuce, and then two more winners to secure a vital hold.

In game eight, the Belarussian was imperious. She slammed four brilliant backhands, three of them outright winners, to break the Pole to love.

The final game of the match was more typical of Sabalenka as she hit a few winners and made a few unforced errors before eventually sealing with a forehand that Radwanska could barely lay a racket on.

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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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