Elina Svitolina Crashes Out Of Wimbledon - UBITENNIS
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Elina Svitolina Crashes Out Of Wimbledon

Svitolina, Rybarikova and Sevastova all suffered shock losses in the first round, while Pliskova, Radwanska and Venus Williams survived.

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Elina Svitolina crashed out of Wimbledon 2018 in round one as she suffered an alarming 7-6(3) 4-6 6-1 defeat to Tatjana Maria.

 

The Ukrainian, 23, seemed to have found her way on grass when she reached the fourth round last year. But she looked all at sea at times against the German, who won the Mallorca Open eight days ago.

Despite her struggles on the surface, Svitolina fought back from 5-1 behind in the first set to force a tie-break and then won the second set.

However, in the fading light shortly before 9pm, the World No.5’s form deserted her in the decider as she lost it 6-1.

Vandeweghe, Rybarikova and Sevastova also suffer surprising defeats

Coco Vandeweghe also departed Wimbledon 2018 at the first hurdle. She was beaten 6-7(3) 6-3 8-6 by World No.42 Katerina Siniakova.

The American, who was nursing an ankle problem coming into the tournament, appeared to make the injury worse by playing and had treatment for it in the first set.

Remarkably, Vandeweghe managed to win the first set and go on to complete the three-hour match. However, her efforts were in vain as the Czech got the better of her in the decider.

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Earlier in the day, World No.19 Magdalena Rybarikova became the first seeded casualty of Wimbledon 2018. She was defeated by Sorana Cirstea shortly after 1pm.

The Slovakian should have been high on confidence after she beat Karolina Pliskova and Kristina Mladenovic during her excellent run to the final of the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham.

However, Rybarikova never really settled into her first-round clash with the World No.51. Despite a good spell in the second set, she lost 7-5 6-3.

A couple of hours later, another seed followed Rybarikova through the exit. World No.21 Anastasija Sevastova suffered a surprising 6-1 2-6 6-4 loss to big-hitting Italian Camila Giorgi.

The Latvian, who is a two-time US Open quarter-finalist, won the grass court event in Mallorca in 2017. She then reached the final of the same event this year.

However, she struggled to contain the power of Giorgi in the first set. Then she fought back to win the second but could not get the job done in the third.

In between those shocks, there was a less startling defeat for a seeded player, as 31st seed Zhang Shuai lost 6-4 4-6 6-2 to former World No.9 Andrea Petkovic.

Radwanska, Pliskova and Venus survive at Wimbledon

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Late in the day, former World No.2 Agnieszka Radwanska survived an almighty scare against World No.195 Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

The Pole seemed to be heading for a comfortable win when she charged into a 5-0 lead in the opening set. However, her unsung Romanian opponent battled back to 5-3.

And, although Radwanska wrapped up the first set, Ruse won the second 6-4 to set up a nervy finale.

Nobody could have imagined just how fraught the ending would be, however, as the unseeded Romanian failed to convert six match points before the experienced Pole eventually won it 7-5.

At one stage, it looked like 7th seed Karolina Pliskova might also be in danger when she lost the second set to British wildcard Harriet Dart.

However, the Czech stepped up her game in the third set and raced through it to record 7-6(2) 2-6 6-1 victory.

Venus Williams also survived a tricky encounter with Johanna Larson. She lost the first set tie-break against the Swede but recovered to win 6-7(3) 6-2 6-1.

Another American, Madison Keys, had no such problems as she brushed aside Alja Tomljanovic 6-4 6-2 in just 62 minutes.

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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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