WTA Elite Trophy: Top Seed Daria Kasatkina Faces Keys, Muguruza Gets Sevastova Test - UBITENNIS
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WTA Elite Trophy: Top Seed Daria Kasatkina Faces Keys, Muguruza Gets Sevastova Test

The draw for the final WTA tournament of 2018 has been revealed.

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Daria Kasatkina faces stiff opposition from a former grand slam finalist and a home favourite in her group at the upcoming Elite Trophy.

 

The draw took place for the fourth edition of the event on Monday, which is the last in the WTA Calendar this season. 12 players ranked outside of the world’s top eight will battle it out in a round robin format. Similar to that of last week’s WTA Finals, which was won by Elina Svitolina. In this year’s field, seventh seed Garbine Muguruza is the only player to have previously won a grand slam title. Meanwhile, defending champion Julia Goerges will be hoping to become the first player to win the title for a second consecutive year.

“I think it’s a great opportunity being back here again,” Goerges said during her pre-tournament press conference. “For me, it means that I’ve had a consistent year, which always, like, is the case to be a top player, to be consistent throughout the year.

“For me, it doesn’t really feel pressured or something, or mentally anything special. It’s just like coming back here to get all these great memories in, which I had last year winning my biggest title of the career. I think that’s what it’s all about.”

A total of four groups will feature in the tournament with the winner of each group progressing to the semi-finals. Kasatkina has been drawn in the same group as Madison Keys and Wang Qiang. The 21-year-old has recently won her second WTA title at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. She has a winning head-to-head record against Qiang, but is yet to defeat Keys on the tour.

Second seed Anastasija Sevastova heads the Camella Group. The Latvian won the Bucharest Open in July and has recorded four wins over top 10 opposition this season. She has been drawn in the same group as two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza and wild card entrant Zhang Shuai.

“It’s exciting because I’ve never been here in Zhuhai – it’s a different format,” Muguruza told reporters in China.

“Yeah, I think there’s plenty of reasons to be happy to be playing here and hopefully get a good win and finish the year with a good taste.”

Rising star Aryna Sabalenka will face Caroline Garcia and Ash Barty as she aims to end her breakthrough season on a high. The 20-year-old has won two Premier titles since August and is currently ranked 12th in the world. One place off her personal best.

Finally, defending champion Goerges has been drawn to play Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit and Elise Mertens. Should she win the tournament, it will be the first time in her career she has won three WTA titles within the same season.

The Elite Trophy will get underway on Tuesday at the Hengqin Tennis Center.

Overview of participating players

Player

Ranking (as of 29/10)

Titles won in 2018

Daria Kasatkina RUS

10

1 – Moscow

Anastasija Sevastova LAT

11

1 – Bucharest

Aryna Sabalenka BLR

12

2 – New Haven and Wuhan

Julia Goerges GER

14

2 – Auckland and Luxembourg

Madison Keys USA

16

0

Garbine Muguruza ESP

17

1 – Monterrey

Caroline Garcia FRA

18

1 – Tianjin

Ash Barty AUS

19

1 – Nottingham

Anett Kontaveit EST

20

2 – Andrezieux-Boutheon (ITF $60,000) and s-Hertogenbosch

Wang Qiang CHN

22

2 – Nanchang and Guangzhou

Elise Mertens BEL

13

3 – Hobart, Lugano and  Rabat

Zhang Shuai CHN

33

0

ROUND-ROBIN DRAW (via wtatennis.com)

AZALEA

[1] D. Kasatkina (RUS) vs. [6] M. Keys (USA)

[1] D. Kasatkina (RUS) vs. [11] Q. Wang (CHN)

[6] M. Keys (USA) vs. [11] Q. Wang (CHN)

CAMELLIA

[2] A. Sevastova (LAT) vs. [7] G. Muguruza (ESP)

[2] A. Sevastova (LAT) vs. [12] [WC] S. Zhang (CHN)

[7] G. Muguruza (ESP) vs. [12] [WC] S. Zhang (CHN)

ORCHID

[3] A. Sabalenka (BLR) vs. [8] C. Garcia (FRA)

[3] A. Sabalenka (BLR) vs. [9] A. Barty (AUS)

[8] C. Garcia (FRA) vs. [9] A. Barty (AUS)

ROSE

[4] E. Mertens (BEL) vs. [5] J. Goerges (GER)

[4] E. Mertens (BEL) vs. [10] A. Kontaveit (EST)

[5] J. Goerges (GER) vs. [10] A. Kontaveit (EST)

 

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Richard Gasquet upsets Danil Medvedev in Geneva

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Richard Gasquet upset Danil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 (7-5) with three breaks of serve in 90 minutes to reach the second round at the Gonet Geneva Open. 

 

Gasquet scored his first win over an opponent ranked in the top 2 since he beat world number 1 Roger Federer at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2005. 

Medvedev had beaten Gasquet in their only previous head-to-head match at the 2021 US Open en route to his first Grand Slam title. 

Medvedev was playing his first match since Miami in March after undegoing hernia surgery.

Gasquet won six consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set and built up a 6-2 2-0 lead.  

Medveved dropped his serve after three double faults with three double faults. The Russian player broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 and held serve at love with an ace. 

Medvedev recovered from a mini-break down in the tie-break. Gasquet earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5. 

The Frenchman will face Kamil Majchrzak, who cruised past Marco Cecchinato 6-2 6-3.

Thanasi Kokkinakis earned his first win on clay in seven years with a 6-4 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini in 1 hour and 28 minutes. 

Kokkinakis went up a break to take a 4-1 lead. Fognini broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4.  Kokkinakis broke serve at love in the tenth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

Fognini made two double faults and missed three game points before dropping serve in the second game of the second set. Kokkinakis did not face any break points in his remaining four service games. 

Christopher O’Connell edged past Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to set up a second round match against Reilly Opelka. 

Paulo Sousa cruised past 2021 semifinalist Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-4. Sousa will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who was leading 6-4 before Facundo Bagnis retired from the match.

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Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery

The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’

 

Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.

“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,”
she added.

The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.

A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.

Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.

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Roger Federer’s Team8 Considering Bid To Buy Cincinnati Masters Rights From USTA

The potential move has gained support from one former world No.1 player who says ‘it is nice to see responsible names’ in the mix to buy the prestigious event.

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Roger Federer Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer (SUI) playing against Adrian Mannarino (FRA) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

It is understood that sports and entertainment company Team8 which was co-founded by Roger Federer is looking into potentially submitting an application for ownership of the Cincinnati Masters, according to two sources.

 

Sports business publication Sportico and Steve Weissman from The Tennis Channel have both reported that the business is among a number of interested parties who want to buy the event that is best known as the Western and Southern Open. In February this year it was confirmed that the USTA is selling their 93.8% stake in the tournament for a ‘nine-figure sum.’ It is understood that the organization doesn’t want the event to be relocated from Cincinnati in part of any deal.

“The USTA’s Board of Directors believes now is the right time to explore potential strategic options and alternatives in order to optimize the long-term growth of the tournament and take the tournament to the next level,” the USTA said in a statement published by tennis.com.

The USTA brought the rights to the men’s event back in 2009 for $12.5M and has since spent an additional $65M. Whilst Cincinnati is a combined tournament, the ongoing negotiations only apply to the men’s section. The women’s tournament is overseen by Octagon management.

Neither Federer or a member of Team8 have commented on the reported plans. The company was founded by the 20-time Grand Slam champion and his agent Tony Godsick back in 2013. Since then they have been involved in the creation of the Laver Cup, became a ‘major investor’ in the Universal Tennis system and are a ‘strategic investor and partner’ to On Running.

Should Team8 become the new owners, questions may arise about conflicts of interest with Federer still being an active player on Tour. The 40-year-old is currently sidelined from action due to a knee injury but is aiming to stage a comeback at the Swiss Open later this year. However, former world No.1 Andy Roddick has given his full backing to the possible takeover.

“In the world of tennis, where conflicts of interest know no bounds at all, Roger can do this. He has, obviously, been a great steward for the game and has created an incredible relationship with the fans in the city of Cincinnati. You’d like to see it stay in the tennis family with someone who actually knows and loves our sport.” Roddick told The Tennis Channel.

Federer has won the Cincinnati Masters a record seven times in his career.

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