Controversy Overshadows Naomi Osaka’s Historic Win Over Williams At US Open - UBITENNIS
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Controversy Overshadows Naomi Osaka’s Historic Win Over Williams At US Open

A massive argument between the umpire and Serena Williams has marred the biggest win of Osaka’s career.

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Naomi Osaka has become the first Japanese player to win the US Open after defeating Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4, in a dramatic final at the US Open.

Heading into Sunday’s showdown, Osaka said it was an ‘honour’ to play somebody that she idolised whilst growing up. The rising star of the women’s tour produced a stunning mixture of aggression and angle shots to overwhelm a frustrated Williams. Although Osaka’s performance was overshadowed by Williams‘ argument with the umpire after she was accused of receiving coaching. A confrontation that resulted in the American receiving a shocking game-penalty.

“I know that everybody was cheering for her (Williams) and I’m sorry it had to end like this.” A tearful Osaka said during the trophy ceremony.
“It was always my dream to play Serena in the US Open finals. I’m glad that I was able to do that.” She later added.

Heading into the final, the 20-year-old was undoubtedly the underdog against her experienced rival. Osaka was playing in her first grand slam final, compared to Williams’ 31st. Nevertheless, the 20th seed executed her game plan perfectly. Hitting shots deep towards the baseline and mixing up the direction of her speedy serve.

Playing in a full capacity Arthur Ashe stadium, Osaka’s seemingly invisible nerves drew numerous errors from the 23-time grand slam champion. Three games into the match, the Japanese player drew first blood after a Williams double fault granted her a break for 2-1. Continuing to pile the pressure on the home favourite with the use of angle shots, Osaka sealed the double break two games later at the expense of another mistake from her rival. The one-sided opener drew both shock and admiration from the animated crowd in New York. Just 35 minutes into the match, Osaka sealed the 6-2 lead with the help of a body serve.

A shock ending

Williams’ mood deteriorated further during the early stages of set number two. The former world No.1 was issued with a code violation for coaching from the stands. Prompting her to approach the umpire, Carlos Ramos, to say ‘I don’t cheat. I would rather lose.’ A video replay from ESPN, showed that Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, was indicating with his hands to move forward. Something he later admitted doing, but not directly towards his player.

Following on from that controversial warning, Williams then erupted after receiving a point penalty. After breaking for a 3-1 lead in the second frame, Osaka broke back immediately. Prompting the American to smash her racket onto the court. Resulting in Ramos issuing her a second warning and a point penalty in accordance with the rules.

‘I didn’t get coaching. I didn’t get coaching. You need to make an announcement that I didn’t get coaching. You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life.’ Williams said in protest.

Amid the confrontation, Osaka’s mental strength remained remarkably flawless. Breaking for a set and 4-3 lead with the help of a stunning forehand winner.

As Osaka closed in on the biggest win of her career, another clash between Williams and Ramos at the change of ends stunned the world of tennis. After calling the official a ‘thief, Williams was handed a game penalty. Prompting a furious and upset Williams to demand a talk with the referee.

“You will never, ever, ever be on another court of mine as long as you live. You are the liar. You owe me an apology. You stole a point from me. You’re a thief, too.” Said Williams.

Regardless of the shock action, Osaka remained composed throughout as she sealed the biggest title of her career by converting her second championship point.

At the age of 20, Osaka will rise to seventh in the world rankings when they are updated on Monday. She will become the highest ranked Japanese player since 1996.

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The Brands Looking To Capitalize On This Year’s Laver Cup

From a luxury Swiss watchmaker to a mustard brand: The team tournament boasts an impressive and diverse list of sponsors.

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As final preparations for the second edition of the Laver Cup gets underway, a series of prestigious brands are hoping to generate their own success during the three-day event.

Rolex, JPMorgan Chase and Mercedes-Benz are just some of the companies associated with this year’s Laver Cup. Which will be held at the United Center in Chicago. A special fan zone has been created in order for the companies to promote their own products as well as the sport. Italian company Barilla will unveil their ‘Barilla Masters of Pasta Cucina,’ LPMorgan Chase will host a premium lounge for their card holders and Wilson Sporting Good will be selling an array of products. Including Roger Federer’s limited edition Pro Staff RF97 racket.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with global brands Rolex, JPMorgan Chase and Mercedes-Benz, along with Wilson and Moët & Chandon, in year two of the Laver Cup,” Managing Director Steve Zacks said.
“To have such strong partnerships with these global brands in just our second year indicates how much excitement and interest the Laver Cup has created internationally in a short space of time.”

Last year’s Laver Cup proved to be a hit with fans. Hosted at the O2 Arena in the Czech city of Prague, all five sessions were sold out. The event generated an attendance of 83,273 fans over three days. Making the team event more appealing to potential investors.

“We are also delighted to welcome a host of local partners, such as Barilla, an international Italian food company based in Parma, Italy, and NetJets, among others, all of whom are keen to support the Laver Cup and activate at the event.” Zacks continued.
“We are planning a once-in-a-lifetime experience at what will be the largest-ever Fan Zone seen at the United Center.”

Ten players currently ranked in the world’s top 20 have been included in this year’s tournament. The format is similar to that of the Ryder Cup with Europe taking on the rest of the world. Federer, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev are just some of the players set to take part.

On Thursday evening the order of play for the first day was announced. It will feature Federer and Djokovic teaming up to play in the doubles for the first time. They will take on Kevin Anderson and Jack Sock during the evening session tomorrow.

Day 1 Order of play
DAY
Frances Tiafoe v Grigor Dimitrov
Jack Sock v Kyle Edmund
NIGHT
Diego Schwartzman v David Goffin
Jack Sock/Kevin Anderson v Roger Federer/Novak Djokovic

List of sponsors involved in the Laver Cup

Fan Zone

  • Wilson Sporting Goods: American sports manufacturer based in Chicago
  • Barilla: Italian food company
  • JPMorgan Chase: Multinational investment bank and financial services company
  • Grey Poupon: A brand of whole grain-mustard that will be the official condiment of the Laver Cup. (will be provided at all fan and player hospitality areas).

Other brands

  • Rolex: Swiss luxury watchmaker (founding partner of the Laver Cup)
  • NetJets: private jet company who will provide transportation for Rod Laver and players
  • Mercedes-Benz: Official vehicle of the Laver Cup
  • Athletico: Physical Therapy specialists based in Chicago
  • Moët & Chandon: the Official Champagne partner of the Laver Cup
  • TransferMate: The official currency exchange of the event

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Soon To Be Retired Mikhail Youzhny Looks To Achieve One Final Milestone

The Russian could end his career on Thursday when he takes on Roberto Bautista Agut.

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This week’s St. Petersburg Open marks the end of an era for Russian tennis as Mikhail Youzhny plays on the tour for the final time.

Known by his fans as ‘the colonel’ for his post-match salutes, the 36-year-old is bringing to an end a career that has spanned almost 20 years. Throughout his career, Youzhny has won 10 titles on the ATP Tour and peaked at a ranking high of number eight back in 2008. He is also a two-time US Open semi-finalist who has accumulated 31 wins over top 10 players.

“I can say I had a great career. I never thought I could play until 2018 and I can play at a high level,” Youzhny said during an exclusive interview with ATPWorldTour.com. “I was one of the youngest guys from my age who went into the Top 100 and from all the times, I was at a high level. All the time I can say I was a professional, that’s why I maybe stayed later in the tennis career.”

Youzhny’s achievements on the tour is one that has also influenced the next generation of players in his country. Currently there are four Russian players ranked in the top 100 of the ATP rankings. Three of those are under the age of 22. Karen Khachanov is the highest ranked at 24th in the world. Speaking about the veteran player, Khachanov praised the example that was set by him growing up.

“When he was at his best form he was playing really well, beating top guys and was a Top 10 player at a time. He is a good example for Russian players.” Khachanov said of Youzhny.
“He won the Davis Cup two times. When he was younger, he was faster and hit flatter and more powerful, but he was always tough to beat. He and his coach, Boris, were always helping and following me, giving me good advice. He has been a great influence.”

The 500 club

On Wednesday Youzhny kicked-off his final tournament with a 7-6(6), 6-4, win over Bosnia’s Mirza Basic. At the end of the match, he caught fans off guard by reading out a poem that he wrote. During his press conference, Youzhny said it was a ‘spontaneous’ decision that nobody else knew about.

In the second round the former world No.8 faces Spanish fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut. A win would reward him his 500th victory on the ATP World Tour. Something that has only been achieved by 45 male players in the history of the sport. Should he lose, is there any temptation for him to delay his retirement in order to join the 500 club?

“I already met Agut once on the court. I think, I lost to him in Chennai in three sets. And, of course, my next match will be much harder for me.” He said.
“As for the 500th victory, I have already decided for myself – for me it makes no difference what kind of victory it will be – 500th, 501st or 499th victory. Nothing will change.”

Youzhny’s clash with Bautista Agut will be the third match on Center Court today.

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Jelena Ostapenko Eases Into Korean Open Quarter-Finals

The former French Open champion is targeting her first title of 2018 this week.

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Top seed and defending champion Jelena Ostapenko has kick-started her campaign at the Korean Open with a straightforward 6-3, 6-3, win over Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena.

Ostapenko, who last won a title on the WTA Tour 12 months ago at the same tournament, battled through with the help of her powerful hitting. Throughout the match the world No.10 hit a total of 32 winners, which was nearly undone by 29 unforced errors. A sharp contrast to Arruabarrena’s three and eight. Ostapenko also broke her opponent five times.

“She’s a very good player and very consistent,” Ostapenko told wtatennis.com afterwards. “Today was a good match for me, especially for the first round because first rounds are always tough.”

Despite the scoreline, Ostapenko also encountered some blips against her Spanish rival. During the first set she traded breaks before securing a second break on route to sealing a 6-3 lead. Doing so with the help of a serve down the centre of the court which Arruabarrena returned back into the net.

Meanwhile, in the second set, four consecutive errors during one of Ostapenko’s service games handed her opponent an early lead for 2-0. Sensing the threat, the Latvian muscled her way back into the match by claiming four straight games to move ahead 4-2. Victory was then sealed three games later with the help of a Ostapenko backhand down the line.

“I was really happy that so many people came,” the Latvian said about playing in South Korea. “Especially here in Korea, I have great memories from last year – the fans support me a lot so I felt really good out there today.”

Ostapenko will play Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova next.

Kiki Bertens was another player to secure their place in the second round. The Dutch world No.12 overcame a tough start to prevail 7-6(7), 6-2, over Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum. Bertens was down 5-3 in the opener and then had to save two set points during the tiebreaker.

26-year-old Bertens is seeking her third title of 2018 on the tour this week. Earlier this year she triumphed at Premier events in Charleston and Cincinnati. Awaiting her in the next round at the Korean Open will be Dalila Jakupović.

Elsewhere, three players have already progressed to the quarter-final stage. Greece’s Maria Sakkari dropped only four games during her 6-2, 6-2, win over Margarita Gasparyan. Evgeniya Rodina knocked out eighth seed Kirsten Flipkens in three sets and Anja Tomljanovic came from a set down to defeat Tamara Zidansek.

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