Naomi Osaka Surges Into Tokyo Semis As Second Seed Garcia Tumbles - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka Surges Into Tokyo Semis As Second Seed Garcia Tumbles

The world No.7 is closing in on winning her first WTA title in Asia.



Third seed Naomi Osaka has won her ninth consecutive match on the WTA Tour after defeating Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-4, in the quarter-finals of the Pan Pacific Open.


The US Open champion is seeking her third title of the year and her first ever on Japanese soil. Against former top 20 player Strycova, Osaka displayed glimmers of brilliance as well as fragility in her play. Illustrated by her 26 winners and 26 unforced errors. Nevertheless, the Japanese No.1 managed to weather the storm to seal the win in straight sets.

“I’ve played against her three times now. Each time it has been very hard. So I know she is a very good player.” Osaka said afterwards.

In both sets the match was very much a case of Osaka waiting to capitalize on some tentative serving from her opponent. During the first set, the world No.7 raced to a 4-1 lead before the Czech broke back to close the gap to 4-3. Despite Strycova’s mini resurgence, a lacklustre service game, which concluded with a double fault, handed Osaka another break as she went on to secure the 6-3 lead. Doing so with the help of a forehand from her opponent drifting out on set point.

During the second frame it was another error-stricken Strycova service game which had another three double faults that cost her dearly. Enabling a determined Osaka to battle towards the finish line. Sealing the match with a serve down the line that was returned into the net by Strycova.

Osaka now leads Strycova 2-1 in their head-to-head. Coincidentally, their first meeting was at the same tournament back in 2015 when the 20-year-old lost 7-5, 6-2.

“I think there’s a lot of things I have improved over these last few years.” Osaka reflected. “Of course I remembered the first match I played against her here (In Tokyo). It was one of my first WTA main draw matches.”

Bidding to become the first Japanese player to win the tournament since 1995, Osaka will play Camila Giorgi in the semi-finals. The Italian progressed to the next round after Victoria Azarenka retired injured during their clash.

Vekic continues dream debut

Donna Vekic has scored her second win over a top 10 player this week after stunning France’s Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-4. The world No.45 hit 19 winners to 17 unforced errors as she broke Garcia five times during the match.

“I’m very happy that I won today,” Vekic commented during her on-court interview. “Last time we played, I lost 7-6 in the third and that was a painful loss…so to win in two sets against her really means something to me.”

Prior to this week, Vekic hadn’t won a match in Asia for two years. It is the first time in her career that she has managed to score multiple wins over top 10 players within the same tournament. The Croat is playing in the Pan Pacific Open for the first time in her career.

Gunning for another high-profile win, Vekic will take on Karolina Pliskova in the last four. Pliskova, who is seeded fourth in the draw, outlasted Alison Riske 6-1, 6-7(5), 7-6(4). Battling back from a break down twice throughout the deciding set and fending off two match points.

“It was a very important win for me. I think she was a little bit better, but I just managed to fight somehow and get the victory,” Pliskova said. “It was very close… and I’m just happy that I’m the winner.”

It will be the first meeting between the two players since the 2014 Monterrey Open in Mexico. On that occasion, Pliskova prevailed in three sets.


Dominika Cibulkova announces her retirement from tennis



Dominika Cibulkova has announced her retirement from professional tennis at an event in her home town of Bratislava. The 30-year-old Slovakian player won eight titles on hard-court, grass, and indoor surfaces and achieved her career-high of world number 4 on 20th March 2017.


Cibulkova reached the semifinal at the 2009 Roland Garros, three quarter-finals at Wimbledon (i2011, 2016 and 2018) and the quarter-final at the US Open in 2010. She became the first Slovakian player to reach a Grand Slam final when she finished runner-up to Li Na at the 2014 Australian Open. She achieved the best result of her career in October 2016, when she beat former world number 1 Angelique Kerber at the WTA Finals in Singapore to clinch the Billie Jean King Trophy. That year Dominika won three more titles at Katowice, Eastbourne, and Linz. She also finished runner-up in Acapulco, Madrid, and Wuhan.

“It wasn’t just winning the WTA Finals, but also the road to qualifying, which was really hard. I had to win in Linz just to make it there. While winning Singapore was the biggest moment of my career and life, winning Linz and the way I had to fight to get there, the fact that I was able to do it and belong among the best players in the world”, said Cibulkova in an interview to the WTA Website.

Cibulkova also won four more titles in Moscow 2011, Carlsbad 2012, Stanford 2013 and Acapulco 2014.

She represented the Slovak Republic at two editions of the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and has scored a record of 22 wins and 11 defeats in her Fed Cup appearances.

Cibulkova decided Roland Garros would be the final tournament of her career.

“It wasn’t a decision where I woke up and thought: “I don’t want to play anymore”. It was a long process. I was already convinced by the time I played Azarenka in Miami, that this could be my last match. It was strange because I knew, and no one around me except my team knew it would be my last tournament. At that point, I was 100 percent sure. I was not doubting or thinking: maybe yes or no. I knew I wanted to do it like this, for this to be my last tournament. I went home and I was happy with my decision. It’s really hard to make it, but once you do, you more free. I feel like this life has been fulfilled for me, and I want to start a new one. I was already feeling like the tennis life is really tough, with all the traveling and training, giving 100 % every day. I started to get tired of it. In the end, I gave enough and achieved things I never dreamed of reaching in my career ”, said Cibulkova.


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Karolina Pliskova Splits From Coach With A Possible Replacement Already In The Pipeline

The Czech made the surprise announcement on social media as she enters negotiations with an unnamed individual.



World No.2 Karolina Pliskova has ended her collaboration with Conchita Martinez after working together for more than a year.


Pliskova, who has won four WTA titles this season, had been working with the Spaniard since the 2018 US Open. She originally joined the team on a part-time basis before being upgraded to a full-time position in February this year. Martinez is a former player best known for winning the 1994 Wimbledon Championships.

“I decided I will no longer work with Conchita,” Pliskova posted on Instagram. “It was a tough decision, as the season was great. Thank you for all this year, and wish you only the best. Life is a change!”

The decision comes after what has been a solid year on the tour for the 27-year-old. Overall, she has won 51 out of 68 matches played. Recording five wins over top five opponents. In the grand slams she reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in what was her best ever performance at the tournament. However, she failed to repeat that success at the other three majors. Reaching the third round of the French Open followed by the last 16 in both Wimbledon and the US Open.

“Just a little note to inform you that Karolina and I have decided to take different paths next year.” Martinez wrote in a statement. “It has been an incredible year full of great moments and emotions. I wish Kaja and her team the best for the future.”

It may not be long before the identity of who replaces Martinez is revealed. Michal Hrdlicka, who is Pliskova’s manager and husband, has confirmed to Czech News Agency CTK that discussions are underway with an unnamed individual.

“After the Champions Tournament (WTA Finals), we started negotiations on the engagement of a new coach. Negotiations are underway and we will inform the fans when they are over.” He said.

In her last tournament of 2019, Pliskova reached the semi-finals of the WTA Finals. She was knocked out of the event by top seed Barty who went on to win the title.

Pliskova has finished the year ranked No.2 on the WTA rankings. The highest year-end ranking she has ever achieved so far in her career.

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Top WTA Coach Accused Of False Advertising

Kamau Murray, who was shortlisted for WTA coach of the year in 2018, has been accused by a top 100 player of ‘taking credit for things he has not done.’



Kamau Murray (image via

American tennis player Taylor Townsend has launched an attack on a tennis coach who guided Sloane Stephens to her first grand slam title at the 2017 US Open.


Kamau Murray has been accused of ‘misrepresenting himself’ in the sport by the former world No.1 junior player. The criticism has been sparked by the USPTA Illinois Mini Conference, which will take place on November 17th. In the advertisement it states that Murray is Townsend’s coach. Something she has denies in a lengthy Instagram post.

“Zina Garrison was my primary coach from September 2013-March 2,” she wrote.
“I did not to go public in the past because I had hoped to resolve this matter directly with Kamau Murray. I will no longer remain silent while he (Murray) continues his lies and false advertisement.’
“I did not give Kamau consent to use my name and likeness for his ongoing personal and business monetary gain.”

Townsend, who reached the fourth round of the US Open this year, also took a swipe at Murray over his previous work with Monica Puig. In August the Puerto Rican confirmed that her partnership with the coach has ended after he returned back to working alongside Stephens. Puig told reporters at the US Open that she was informed by ‘people close to her’ that Murray was working with another player in secret. Branding it as a ‘slap in the face.’ Stephens responded to Puig claims by stating that there were ‘two sides to every story.’

“I can no longer remain silent while he continues to deceive professional players, aspiring players, sponsors, and the tennis community by misrepresenting himself and taking credit for things he has not done.” Said Townsend. “Monica Puig is a recent victim of his deception.”

Murray is the founder of the XS Tennis and Education Foundation and has his own tennis facility in Chicago. According to the WTA, he helped guide Townsend to the third round of the 2014 French Open in what was her grand slam debut at the age of 18.

There has been no reply from Murray concerning Townsend’s allegation.


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If you know me, then you know that this is NOT something that I would normally do, but I feel that it’s time to set the record straight about Chicago’s Kamau Murray of XS Tennis Academy. I can no longer remain silent while he continues to deceive professional players, aspiring players, sponsors, and the tennis community by misrepresenting himself and taking credit for things he has not done. @monicaace93 is a recent victim of his deception. I started my tennis with Donald Young SR. and Illona Young, who taught me to play tennis from 4 years old and assisted in me being number 1 in junior in the world. From 2010- August 2013, I trained at the USTA under the instruction of Kathy Rinaldi and briefly Juan Todero. Zina Garrison was my primary coach from September 2013- March 2015. Zina brought Kamau on board as an assistant coach during that time. I did not to go public in the past because I had hoped to resolve this matter directly with Kamau Murray. I will no longer remain silent while he continues his lies and false advertisement. I did not give Kamau consent to use my name and likeness for his ongoing personal and business monetary gain. Kamau is currently stating that he is my coach in promotion of the upcoming USPTA Illinois Mini Conference on November 17, 2019 held at XS Athletic Club. His latest actions have prompted me to expose his past and ongoing pattern of deceit. If you are a fan of mine, please support me and have my back regarding this matter. In doing this, I am clearing my conscience and telling another piece of my story! Thank you so much! I love you guys! 💕

A post shared by TAYLOR TOWNSEND✨❤ (@tay_taytownsend) on

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