Collins' Fairy Tale Continues Into Australian Open Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Collins’ Fairy Tale Continues Into Australian Open Semifinals

Danielle Collins reaches the semifinal on her maiden main draw Australian Open. Another crushing loss for Pavlyuchenkova

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Danielle Collins at the 2019 Australian Open (photo @Sport Vision - Chryslène Caillaud)

A. Pavlyuchenkova b. D. Collins 2-6 7-5 6-1

 

It was the match between the two “intruders” in the 2019 Australian Open quarterfinals, the match looking to determine who would be this year’s unseeded player to get to the semifinals, as it has been tradition in this tournament for the past five years (in 2018 there were two unseeded players in the semis, Coco Vandeweghe and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni). Both outsiders on this occasion, although both with a very respectable ranking (n. 35 Pavlyuchenkova, n. 44 Collins), the two players come from very different backgrounds: the Russian girl is the wonder-child turned into an unkept promise, while the American is the humble working-class girl who grew up on the public grounds in St. Petersburg, Florida and turned pro almost by accident after a college scholarship at the University of Virginia.

Both nervous at the start of the match, Anastasia was the quicker out of the starting blocks, winning a marathon 17-minute 28-point game facing five break points. The Russian player’s more powerful groundstrokes allowed her to pull away early in the first set as Collins looked unable to find the angles to move her opponent and contrast the effectiveness of her firepower. In a flash, it was 5-1 Pavlyuchenkova, who then closed the first set 6-2 in 49 minutes.

But Collins did not break into the Top 50 by giving up at the first hurdle: thanks also to her opponent making a few more unforced errors, the Floridians was able to gain a 5-2 advantage by avoiding the rallies in the middle of the court and forcing her opponent to run side-to-side. But Pavlyuchenkova came back to 5-5 crushing some returns on Collins’ second serve and placed herself only two games away from her first Grand Slam semifinal. The match was tense, but the reaction from the scarce crowd on the stands was underwhelming: it felt like the struggle on court did not concern them, as they counted down the minutes to the “Barty party” in the evening. At 5-6 two loose unforced errors complicated Pavlyuchenkova’s service game from 30-0 up, and Collins managed to take home the second set with an inside-out forehand winner.

Crippled by the pressure of another semifinal chance that she felt was slipping away (Anastasia had already been in the quarterfinals at each Major before), the Russian player let herself be overcome by her very fears that prevented her to fulfill her destiny of glory in tennis and allowed Danielle Collins’ fighting spirit get the best of her. The American, on the other hand, grew up scraping for court time in the public parks of St Petersburg and became a tennis warrior during those NCAA team competitions where rowdy fans chant just a few feet from the court. Collins got to 5-0 in the third set in the blink of an eye, and when two games later her opponent’s last forehand return sailed past the baseline, she could celebrate her first Major semifinal only at her second attempt in a Grand Slam tournament’s main draw.

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WTA unveils rebrand including new logo, marketing campaign and alignment of tournament tiers

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The WTA has unveiled a comprensive rebrand including a new logo, marketing campaign and alignment of tournament tiers. 

 

The Women’s Tennis Association WTA has introduced a new corporate identity redifining the organization’s strength as a collective utit of inspiring players and tournaments. 

The rebranding includes the WTA’s first logo redesign in 10 years and coincides with the announcement of a simplified numerical naming system for women’s tournaments. 

The new brand identity and marketing campaign has been developed for the WTA by design agency Landor Australia and will be fully integrated across the WTA, including television graphics, print materials, tournament branding, advertising, promotion, digital and social media. 

The WTA’s new brand image incorporates a dynamic reworking of the familiar letters W, T and A, with a tennis ball functioning as the crossbar of the A, and marks the return of a silhouette of a female tennis player. The serve is the only shot in tennis where the player has the absolute control and where the point begins. 

The logo brings a return of a kinetic energy and makes reference to the sport’s global nature, framing the player within a circle that evokes the universal spirit of the WTA platform. 

“The WTA is built on the grit, passion and determination of generations of athletes and tournament promoters. Our new logo embraces the visual language of tennis and celebrates heroic women who come together for “The Game”. We will wear it as a badge of pride and a reminder of the power of unity among strong individuals, by joining forces, we build something bigger than ourselves”, said Micky Lawler, President of the WTA and head of marketing initiatives.   

The WTA For the Game campaign will be highlighted by 30 and 60 second commercial spots as well as influencer stories that will be broadcast, published and posted across WTA player, tournament and affiliate channels. Fans are provided new insights into the individual narratives of players as they describe the defining moments that have shaped their tennis journey and what gives their game purpose. 

The “For the Game” campaign features a series of videos with in-their-own words storytelling from Naomi Osaka, Madison Keys, Garbine Muguruza, Ashleigh Barty, Petra Kvitova, Barbora Krejcikova, Su-Wei Hsieh, Bethanie Mattek Sands and more players from the tour’s singles and doubles ranks. 

The WTA also worked with the ATP to create consistency and alignment across professional tennis. Both Tours will share the same tournament tier and nomenclature system to create simplicity for fans and consumers starting from 2021. WTA tournaments will now be categorized as WTA 1000 (incorporating the former Premier Mandatory and Premier 5 tournaments), WTA 500 (formerly Premier 700), WTA 250 (International) and WTA 125 (125k Series). The revised nomenclature is not tied to specific ranking points (which stay the same) or prize money, it is a categorical system to help define WTA tournament categories. “Fans really respond to the unified approach which tennis is uniquely able to provide. We see it with ticket sales at combined women’s and men’s tournaments, viewership on shared broadcast platforms and the popularity of the “Tennis United” digital content series co-created by the WTA and ATP amidst the challenges of the 2020 season. Adopting this streamlined tournament naming system is 100% about making it easier for WTA fans, corporate partners and the media to engage and follow the sport”, said Lawler. 

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Father Of Dayana Yastremska Reveals The Reasons Behind Her Lacklustre Season

Alexander Yastremsky says his daughter was ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to a personal issue.

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Rising star Dayana Yastremska struggled on the Tour during the second half of 2020 due to a family-related issue, according to her father.

 

The world No.29 closed out her season with three consecutive first round losses at the French Open, Ostrava and Linz to players who were ranked lower than her. Yastremska looked to be on course for a strong year after reaching the final of the Adelaide International in January. However, since then she has only managed to reach the quarter-final stage in one out of 10 tournaments played.

Reflecting on his daughter’s difficult season during an interview with Ukrainian Tennis, Alexander Yastremsky says she had been ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to her mother having a series of surgeries on her eye.

“People were complaining like why Dayana had such poor results at Roland Garros and afterwards but they didn’t know it was a hard time for her mother,” he said.
“Before the first round she had a retinal detachment. She went through three surgeries in Paris and two more at home. Everything is fine now but at that time Dayana was broken mentally.”

Besides her mother’s health scare, Yastremska had to find a new structure in her team after the departure of Sasha Bajin following the US Open. Bajin, who is the former coach of Naomi Osaka, worked with her for less than a year. Last week it was confirmed that he will be working with Karolina Pliskova in the new year.

“Sascha Bajin is a good coach, very helpful but it turned out he wasn’t ours,” said Alexander. “I don’t look at this partnership as a mistake for Dayana, it was another experience for her but I don’t see any advantages either.”
“Everyone looks only at how good you play and what result you get.”

Prior to Bajin, Yastremska worked with Belgium’s Olivier Jeunehomme who guided her to three WTA titles between 2018-2019. Since his departure, she is yet to add to her title tally but did rise to a ranking high of 21st earlier this year.

“It’s not easy to work with Dayana she has a tough personality,” her father admits. “Relationships on and off the court are very important for her.
“Right now we have a new team, very positive and committed . That’s the key for us. There’s no need to brag about their achievements. Results will come and time will tell. Our focus is on the off-season and hard work.”

Yastremska has started her off-season in Dubai. She ends the year with a win-loss record of 15-12 and has made just over $486,000 in prize money.

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Karolina Pliskova hires Sascha Bajin as new coach

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Former world number 1 player Karolina Pliskova has hired German coach Sasha Bajin for the upcoming 2021 season. The Czech player has split up with Daniel Vallverdu. 

 

Under the guidance of Vallverdu Pliskova has not won a single title in 2020 but she reached her second final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, the tournament she won in 2019 beating Johanna Konta. This year she was forced to withdraw from the Rome final against Simona Halep due to an injury problem. 

Pliskova successfully defended her 2019 title in Brisbane and lost to Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the third round of the Australian Open and was defeated by Elena Rybakina in the quarter finals in Dubai. She lost to Ons Jabeur in Doha. In her first tournament after the suspension due to the pandemic Pliskova was beaten by Veronika Kudemertova in the second round at the Western and Southern Open in New York. At the US Open Karolina was knocked out by Caroline Garcia in the second round. 

The Czech star lost in the first round in Ostrava after winning the first set. 

Bajin parted his ways with Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska in 2020. The Ukrainian player was not happy after Bajin praised Naomi Osaka, who beat Yastremska at the US Open. 

Pliskova introduced her new coaching team to her fans on Twitter. 

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