Officials Pondering The Use Of Artificial Playing Surfaces At Wimbledon - UBITENNIS
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Officials Pondering The Use Of Artificial Playing Surfaces At Wimbledon

Wimbledon’s proud tradition of having freshly cut grass courts could become extinct in the future.

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The All England Club is considering the use of an artificial playing surface at Wimbledon to cope with scheduling demands, according to The Mail On Sunday.

 

It is reported that talks are already underway regarding implementing the surface initially at club level to begin with. Such a move would be significant for Wimbledon. A tournament that prides itself on tradition.

According to The Daily Mail, the plans are being considered in order for more matches to be played on the premier courts at the tournament. Centre Court and Court One. Currently there are only three that takes place. Creating an imbalance between men’s and women’s games. The thinking is that new surface would accommodate more games being played before it is worn out.

Former world No.4 Tim Henman is a member of the All England Club committee. He has confirmed to the Mail that the idea is being looked at. It is possible that a hybrid practice court could be implemented in the near future.

“In an ideal world, you’d like to have four matches on Centre Court and Court No1,” Henman told the Mail on Sunday during a coaching session on HSBC’s Court 20 with the charity Give it Your Max.
“What people never focus on is the fact it’s a natural surface. It’s grass. You’ve got to have that court for 13 days and if you kill it in the first five days, then you’re in trouble.
“Wimbledon are investing a lot of money looking at the hybrid thing. When you see the football and rugby pitches now, they’re three per cent artificial.
“We’re certainly looking at, “What does five per cent look like on a tennis court? What does 10 per cent look like on a tennis court?”
“If you go back a few generations, it was huge in America, Australia, India and a lot of it has died out because of the maintenance, the cost, the quality of court. If that area can evolve then it may be relevant for Wimbledon.”

Since 2001, courts at Wimbledon have been sown with 100% perennial Ryegrass. A cool-season grass that germinates faster than any other common lawn grass.

Should the plans got the go ahead, it is unclear as to when they would come to fruition. Any decision in unlikely to have an impact on next year’s tournament.

This year’s Wimbledon singles titles were won by Novak Djokovic and Angelique Kerber.

Grand Slam

Julia Goerges Knocks Out 13th Seed Petra Martic At Australian Open 2020

Petra Martic became only the second WTA top 20 player to be knocked out of the 2020 Australian Open when she lost a tough three-set match to Julia Goerges.

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If Petra Martic looked at the 2020 Australian Open draw and felt a sense of dread when she saw that she would probably face Julia Goerges in the second round, that would be entirely understandable.

 

The German, 31, is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous unseeded players at Melbourne Park this year. She possesses a huge serve and a brutal forehand. She has won seven WTA titles, appeared in ten other finals, and was once ranked World No.9. And she was seeded the last two times she participated in the first Grand Slam of the year.

To make matters worse for Martic, Goerges beat her in straight sets just seven months ago when then played at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham.

When you add all these ingredients together, you get the perfect recipe for an early exit from the 13th seed.

Ultimately, that is exactly what happened. But you would not have guessed it was going to during the first set, as Goerges made way too many unforced errors against a player as consistent as Martic.

Consequently, the German lost it 6-4. There was only one break of serve, but it came at a crucial time – the ninth game – and the Croatian then held easily to clinch the set.

Goerges keeps the faith

Despite this setback, Goerges never lost faith in her approach. She continued to attack – as she always does – but she also managed to cut down on the number of errors she made.

Unsurprisingly, this improvement yielded positive results for the 2018 Wimbledon semi-finalist. She hit eight winners (and made just five unforced errors) as she opened a 5-2 lead.

However, Goerges almost wasted her hard work. She made two unforced errors when she was serving for the set at 5-3 and suddenly found herself facing three break points. Fortunately for the German, she produced one winner and Martic made two errors to bring the score back to deuce. Then Goerges won the next two points to seal the set.

The third set was a strange affair. The German looked in control when she broke early and established a 4-2 lead.

However, she played an awful service game to allow the Croatian to break back and level the score at 4-4. Then she failed to convert two break points in the next game and Martic capitalised to move ahead.

To her great credit, Goerges remained resolute. She battled to a hold. Then she hit some sparkling winners and outlasted the 13th seed in a few long rallies to get the decisive break in game eleven. Finally, she hit three superb winners as she held to love to complete a hard-fought triumph.

Osaka glides into round three

Naomi Osaka continued her serene progress through the draw with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Zheng Saisai in the Margaret Court Arena.

Although she will be happy with the win, the defending champion will be keen to serve better in the next round. She was broken three times by the Chinese player and only won 57% of all the points played on her serve.

Osaka could face Coco Gauff in the last 32 for the second Grand Slam in a row. The American sensation takes on Sorana Cirstea in the second round later today.

Elsewhere in Melbourne, Sofia Kenin became the first player to make it through to the third round. She completed a 6-1 6-3 thrashing of American youngster Ann Li in just 57 minutes.

The 14th seed will now line up against Zhang Shuai in the third round. The experienced Chinese player beat American qualifier Catherine McNally 6-2 6-4.

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Grand Slam

Belinda Bencic overcomes first hurdle while Keys breezes through at Australian Open

Belinda Bencic won a tricky encounter against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova while Madison Keys hammered Daria Kasatkina.

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Belinda Bencic (@sport3laguna on Twitter)

Belinda Bencic secured safe passage through to the second round of the 2020 Australian Open with a hard-fought 6-3 7-5 victory over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

 

The Swiss, 22, enjoyed an excellent 2019. She reached her first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open, won two WTA Premier titles and returned to the top ten after a three-year absence caused by a series of injuries.

Now the pressure is on for Bencic as she seeks to consolidate her ranking, so she was understandably relieved to negotiate the first hurdle at the first major of the year.

“I think every first round is very difficult,” the Swiss said in her on-court interview. “It’s really tough to find rhythm so I think it’s all about fighting and I’m really happy I got through.”

The first set was a bit of a scrappy affair. Bencic capitalised on a poor start from Schmiedlova to move 4-0 up. Then the Slovakian benefitted from some sloppy tennis from the Swiss as she dragged herself back into the set at 4-3.

Games eight and nine could have gone to either player. However, Bencic made fewer errors than her opponent and that proved crucial as she won both to take the set 6-3.

Bencic recovers after slow start

Although she won the opening set, the World No.6 looked very frustrated as she walked to her chair. And that annoyance came through in her tennis for the next three and a half games as she struggled to find the court.

When Bencic did get the ball in, she frequently landed it short. And Schmiedlova punished her with a series of excellent winners.

Then, just as the set seemed to be running away from the Swiss player at 3-0 with the Slovakian serving, she re-discovered her rhythm.

Bencic hit a couple of winners and outlasted Schmiedlova in a couple of long rallies to prolong the game and force two break points. Then she benefitted from an error by the World No.202 which gave her the break she needed.

For the next two games, the World No.6 looked in total control. She bossed the points and quickly levelled the set at 3-3.

The Slovakian responded superbly. She cracked three big winners to break her opponent for the second time in the set.

This time, however, Bencic refused to let her get away. She broke back immediately and then held her serve to love to move 5-4 ahead.

Schmiedlova held comfortably in game ten. Then the Swiss player battled through a very difficult service game. She let out a roar of ‘come on!’ when her opponent’s last ball travelled beyond the baseline.

Buoyed by this, Bencic attacked the Slovakian’s serve. She extracted two errors from the World No.202’s racket and cracked a forehand winner to make it 0-40. Then she seized the third of her match points with a deep backhand that Schmiedlova could not get back over the net.

Keys powers past Kasatkina

Madison Keys started her 2020 Australian Open campaign in style as she thumped Daria Kasatkina 6-3 6-1 in just 57 minutes.

The American began in blistering style as she hit seven winners in the first five games to move 4-1 up. Then she gathered herself after a brief blip to close out the set 6-3.

The second set was even more one-sided. Keys crunched 19 winners and broke Kasatkina three times to take it 6-1 in 26 minutes. She will now face either Magda Linette or Arantxa Rus in round two.

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Grand Slam

Australian Open Day 2 Preview: Five Must-See Matches

With rain causing long delays on Monday, Tuesday will be a busy day as the tournament tries to get back on schedule.

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Simona Halep (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

In men’s tennis, “The Big 3” have now claimed all of the last 12 Majors. Will this finally be the Slam when someone new breaks through? It will be interesting to see if the ultra-competitive ATP Cup impacts the form of Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, and how the lack of any warm-up event impacts Roger Federer.

 

In women’s tennis, 23-time Major singles champion Serena Williams has reached the final at four of the last six Slams, but is 0-4 in those championship matches. Coming off her first title in three years last week in Auckland, can she finally tie Margaret Court with 24 Majors in Court’s home country? Or will the lack of parity on the women’s side continue? 10 different women have prevailed at the last 12 Majors.

Simona Halep (4) vs. Jennifer Brady

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This is a dangerous first round draw for the 2018 finalist. In their only previous meeting, last August in Canada, Halep barely survived a third-set tiebreak against the 24-year-old American. And Brady is off to a strong start in 2020, having come through qualifying in Brisbane and going on to defeat world No.1 Ash Barty. Meanwhile since playing what she called “the match of her life” in the Wimbledon final six months ago, Halep is just 8-8. She was soundly defeated last week in Adelaide at the hands of Aryna Sabalenka. Considering Halep’s credentials, and with Darenn Cahill back as her head coach, I don’t expect her slump to last much longer. But considering Simona has lost in the first round in five of the last 18 Majors, a loss today to an in-form threat would be not shocking.

Karolina Pliskova (2) vs. Kiki Mladenovic

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These two have split their four previous encounters, though they haven’t met in nearly three years. Pliskova has only gotten better during that time. She’s reached the quarterfinals or better in Melbourne in all of the last three years, and started off this season by defeating Naomi Osaka and Madison Keys to claim the title in Brisbane. Mladenovic’s last few seasons haven’t been as impressive. Since reaching the 2017 French Open quarterfinals, she hasn’t advanced beyond the third round at any Major. Last year her singles ranking dropped all the way to 68th in the world. The Frenchwoman achieved some positive results after adding Sascha Bajin to her team in 2019, and publicly expressed her frustration with his decision to leave her team at the end of last season. Despite his departure, she was the star of the Fed Cup final just a few weeks later, leading her team to the championship. She is listed as currently being without a coach. Pliskova also just made a coaching change, parting ways with Conchita Martinez and hiring Daniel Vallverdu, who is splitting his time nowadays between her and Stan Wawrinka. Despite Kiki’s recent Fed Cup triumph, Pliskova is one of the tour’s best hard court players, and is a strong favorite to advance.

Daniil Medvedev (4) vs. Frances Tiafoe

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A year ago, Tiafoe made the run of his career in Melbourne, with several dramatic wins on his way to the quarterfinals. But in the year that’s followed, he’s struggled to capitalize on that success. He arrives here on a four-match losing streak, and is in danger of dropping outside the top 80 with a loss today. Unfortunately for Frances, he drew one of the ATP’s best hard court players over the last 18 months. Despite cooling off a bit to end 2019, Daniil was in great form at the ATP Cup to start off this year. He went 4-1, with his only loss coming against Novak Djokovic in a high-quality affair. In their only previous main draw match, Medevev prevailed in straight sets last summer. There’s no reason to believe the result today will be any different.

Stan Wawrinka (15) vs. Damir Dzumhur

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Surprisingly, Dzumhur owns a winning record over the 2014 champ. The 27-year-old Bosnian is 2-1 against the Stanimal, though this will be their first time playing best-of-five. It’s a matchup in which the speedy Dhumhur can use Wawrinka’s power against him. And Stan comes into this event without a ton of match play, as he missed some of the fall season due to injury. But defeating the three-time Major champion at a Slam is an entirely different ask, especially for a player who has lost in the first round at four of the last five Majors. Wawrinka has never been defeated in the opening round of this tournament, and I expect him to extend that streak to 15 straight years.

Donna Vekic (19) vs. Maria Sharapova (WC)

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The five-time Major champion finds herself ranked 145th in the world, needing a wild card from Tennis Australia to get into this event. The 32-year-old Sharapova played only 15 matches last year, as injuries continued to plague her career. But for her opponent, 2019 was the best year of her career. The 23-year-old Vekic recently made her top 20 debut, with 37 match wins last season. Donna reached her first Major quarterfinal at the US Open, though she’s a meek 4-9 since that breakthrough. Sharapova won their only previous meeting, though that was two years ago on clay. And in her only match this season, Maria lost to Jennifer Brady in a third set tiebreak. Based on Sharapova’s lack of play, Vekic should be favored to advance.

Other notable matches on Day 2:

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  • At the only Major he’s only won once, Rafael Nadal (1) begins his quest to tie Roger Federer’s mark of 20 Major singles titles vs. Hugo Dellien, a 26-year-old from Bolivia making his Australian Open debut.
  • Indian Wells champ Dominic Thiem (5) vs. Adrian Mannarino. Thiem is 7-0 lifetime against Mannarino.
  • Last year’s surprise Roland Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova (15), coming off an extended injury layoff due to wrist surgery, vs. two-time Major singles champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.
  • Sascha Zverev (7) vs. Marco Cecchinato, the surprise semifinalist from the 2018 French Open who had a dismal 2019. Zverev himself struggled mightily at the recent ATP Cup, going 0-3 and hitting 31 double faults in those three losses.
  • Aryna Sabalenka (11), who upset Simona Halep in Adelaide last week, vs. Carla Suarez Navarro, a quarterfinalist here in two of the last four years.

Order of play (show courts only in local time)

Rod Laver Arena
Day session (from 11am)
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) vs Karolina Pliskova (CZE) [2]
Donna Vekic (CRO) [19] vs Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Rafael Nadal (ESP) [1] vs Hugo Dellien (BOL)
Night session (from 7pm)
Daniil Medvedev (RUS) [4] vs Frances Tiafoe (USA)
Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) vs Angelique Kerber (GER) [17]

Show Court 1
Day session (from 11am)
Belinda Bencic (SUI) [6] vs Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK)
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) vs Dominic Thiem (AUT) [5]
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) vs Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) [31]
Night session (from 7pm)
Jennifer Brady (USA) vs Simona Halep (ROU) [4]
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) vs Alexander Zverev (GER) [7]

Melbourne Arena
From 11am
Polona Hercog (SLO) vs Rebecca Peterson (SWE)
Madison Keys (USA) [10] vs Daria Kasatkina (RUS)
Damir Dzumhur (BIH) vs Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [15]
Not before 4pm – Alexei Popyrin (AUS) vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [28]
Not before 7pm – Nick Kyrgios (AUS) vs Lorenzo Sonego (ITA)

1573 Arena
Johanna Konta (GBR) [12] vs Ons Jabeur (TUN)
Reilly Opelka (USA) vs Fabio Fognini (ITA) [12], resumes at 6-3 7-6(3) 1-0
Ernests Gulbis (LAT) vs Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) [20]
Elina Svitolina (UKR) [5] vs Katie Boulter (GBR)
Not before 4pm – Gael Monfils (FRA) [10] vs Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE)
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) vs Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) [11]

Click here for the full order of play

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