Naomi Osaka takes come-from-behind win over Su-Wei Hsieh to reach the Australian Open fourth round for the second year in a row - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka takes come-from-behind win over Su-Wei Hsieh to reach the Australian Open fourth round for the second year in a row

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Last year’s US Open champion Naomi Osaka rallied from one set and 4-1 down in her come-from-behind 5-7 6-4 6-1 win over 28th seed Su-Wei Hsieh from Chinese Taipei after 1 hour and 57 minutes to advance to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the second consecutive year.

 

Hsieh converted four of her fifteen break points, but Osaka took control of the match in the second set and broke seven times from eleven opportunities.

Osaka hit 41 winners (including eight aces) to 42 unforced errors, compared to Hsieh’s 28-31 ratio.

In the opening set Osaka earned an early break point chance at 1-1, but Hsieh held serve for 2-1, when the Japanese player missed a return into the net on the break point.

Su-Wei went up a break for 4-2, but Osaka reeled off three consecutive games to take a 5-4 lead earning the chance to serve for the set in the 10th game. Hsieh broke back to draw level to 5-5. Osaka saved two set points with a forehand and with an ace, but Hsieh earned a third set point, when Osaka sent a backhand wide, and forced an error to close out the first set 6-4.

Hsieh converted her fifth break point in a marathon game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead and held her next two service games to build up a 4-1 lead. Osaka rallied from 0-40 down on return by winning five consecutive points to pull the break back for 3-4 in the seventh game. Osaka saved a break point with a backhand winner down the line in the eighth game, before holding serve with a forehand winner to draw level to 4-4. The 2018 US Open champion earned her second consecutive break for 5-4 with another forehand and won her fifth consecutive game to seal the second set 6-4.

Osaka broke three times in the first, fifth and seventh games to cruise through to winning the third set 6-1.

Hsieh had already produced good results in Melbourne. Last year the player from Chinese Taipei reached the fourth round after beating two-time Grand Slam champion and then world number 3 Garbine Muguruza.

“I am happy with how I fought. For me that’s one of the biggest things I always thought I could improve. I just started thinking that I am in a Grand Slam. I should not be sad. I am playing against a really great player, so I just just enjoy my time and try to put all my energy into doing the best that I can on every point. Of course it gives me confidence to be able to win like this. I was two games from losing the match, so I think being able to come back and fight is something that I have been attempting to do for a while, but I have not really been able to grasp the emotions to do it”,said Osaka.

In the fourth round Osaka will face Anastasija Sevastova, who knocked out 21st seed Wang Qiang by the scoreline of 6-3 6-3.

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Rafael Nadal Defeats Emotional Ferrer To Reach Last Eight In Barcelona

Rafael Nadal ended David Ferrer’s time in Barcelona with a 6-3 6-3 win to move into the last eight.

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Rafael Nadal (@rolandgarros - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal was too good for an emotional David Ferrer after a 6-3 6-3 win sealed the 11 time champion’s place in the Barcelona quarter-finals.

 

After a sluggish start, Nadal raced into a 6-3 6-3 win over Ferrer in what was a rain-delayed match in Barcelona to reach the last eight.

The match was Ferrer’s last in Barcelona as he will say goodbye to tennis in Madrid in a couple of weeks time after over 15 years on tour.

As for Nadal he will face the winner of Jan-Lennard Struff’s match with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

It was a slow start from the defending champion to begin with as he was failing to adapt to the slightly heavier conditions.

The world number 155 failed to convert his two break points though as he stayed with Nadal with some great court coverage and groundstrokes.

However Nadal’s power and angles were eventually too much for the grinding Ferrer as he finally earned the break in sixth game for a 4-2 lead.

A much better perspective and attitude from the 17 time grand slam champion helped him charge through the match, especially in the first set.

After the first rain delay, Nadal served out the opening set to give himself the early advantage in this third round match.

It was more of the same from Nadal in the second set as he controlled the baseline for an early break. However that didn’t last long as Ferrer continued to fight on and a sloppy game from Nadal handed the break back to the veteran.

The 37 year-old continued to show why his level of tennis can still match up to anyone on the tour as he stunned Nadal with some brilliant point construction.

But there was to be no epic comeback from the former Roland Garros finalist as two more breaks from Nadal sealed his place in the quarter-finals.

It was an emotional moment Ferrer, who played his last match in Barcelona, as he prepares to retire in a couple of weeks time in Madrid.

However for Nadal he noticed the improvement in level after a poor performance in the previous round, “Big difference. It was a tough match in all ways yesterday. Today was a different energy, a different motivation. In general terms, for me, I needed to play with a different attitude to make a step forward, and that’s what I did today.”

The world number two will now play Jan-Lennard Struff or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last eight.

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Editorial

Tennis Has A Justin Gimelstob Problem

Once tipped to be the chief of men’s tennis, Gimelstob’s future in the sport looks to be coming to an end following his latest and most shocking controversy.

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Justin Gimelstob (image via awfulannouncing.com)

Once again in the coming weeks men’s tennis will be dominated by off-court politics in an all too familiar trend occurring this season.

 

Following on from the decision to remove Chris Kermode from his position, the focus is now on Justin Gimelstob. A man once tipped to take on Kermode’s position as CEO of the ATP. Earlier this week the 42-year-old pleaded ‘no contest’ to an assault charge against one of his former friends. A plea where somebody accepts the charges without accepting or admitting guilt. As a consequence, Gimelstob was handed with a 60-day community service and a three-year probation.

“Justin Gimelstob pled no contest to the charge filed against him and the Judge, after evaluating the evidence, exercised his discretion and reduced the charge to a misdemeanor,” said his legal team in a statement.
“Justin did this to move on with his professional life and focus on his family.”

The incident occurred last Halloween when Gimelstob approached Randall Kaplan and hit him a reported 50 times, according to a restraining order issued last year. The incident took place in front of Kaplan’s pregnant wife, who film some of the incident, and his two-year-old daughter. Prosecutors said that the stress of the attack caused Kaplan’s wife to have a miscarriage.

“Thankfully my husband survived, but our unborn child did not,” Madison Kaplan said. “My doctors said everything had looked perfect with the pregnancy before the attack. The only reason they could see causing the miscarriage was the stress from the attack. Justin might not have gotten his wish in killing Randy, but he did kill a tiny innocent little baby girl.”

The Rome vote

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Gimelstob is currently one of three player representatives currently serving on the ATP Board and represents the Americas region. They are elected by the Players council and play an instrumental role in decision making. Such as voting for the removal of Kermode.

The fact Gimelstob remains in his current position is one that has drawn concern from some. The All England Club confirmed on Tuesday that he has been banned from the Wimbledon legends event as well as sitting in the Royal Box. The Telegraph has also reported that officials are pondering whether to remove his credentials all together.

It will be the Player’s council decision if Gimelstob should maintain his current position or not. They will gather in Rome next month to have a vote on his future. Among the member’s is John Isner, who has Gimelstob as an ‘unpaid advisor‘ on his team. The world No.10 has previously described him as a ‘’a misunderstood character.’

“The decision was taken to let the judicial process run its course before any judgement was made on his future, so with that process complete this is now a subject for review by the board and/or the player council.” The ATP said in a statement.
“As a related matter, the election for the role of the next Americas player representative on the ATP board – the position currently held by Gimelstob – will take place as scheduled on Tuesday, 14 May, in Rome.”

Despite his work and dedication to tennis, the idea of voting to keep Gimelstob in his role seems illogical. Prior to his assault charge, he has been embroiled in a series of controversies. Speaking about former player Anna Kournikova in 2008 he once said ‘She’s a bitch. Hate’s a very strong word. I just despise her to the maximum level just below hate.’ He later apologised for that comment. In 2010 he also was briefly suspended from the Tennis Channel concerning comments he made about then president Barack Obama.

A return to The Tennis Channel?

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Besides his role at the ATP, Gimelstob has been a prominent figure and valuable commentator for The Tennis Channel. He took a leave of absence from the network in November due to the legal proceedings. Now he has received his sentence, it is unclear as to what will happen next.

“We are sure that Justin is pleased that this matter has been resolved. Since he took his leave of absence from Tennis Channel in November 2018, we have been waiting for the legal system to run its course. Now that this is behind him, we will have internal meetings among our executives — and meetings with Justin — to discuss his future with Tennis Channel.” The Tennis Channel said in a statement.

According to Deadline the situation is complicated due to the close relationship between the former player and Ken Solomon, who is the president of the Tennis Channel. Speaking to The New York Times Solomon said ‘We are here and ready to discuss the situation with Justin whenever appropriate, and will decide at that time.’

Despite the seemingly calm approach from the president of the network, some people within The Tennis Channel are questioning the situation.

“There is a feeling here that it would be shocking if he comes back and works for the Tennis Channel,” one source told Deadspin. “But at the same time, this guy is super powerful and has been at Tennis Channel since it started, so he has a very close relationship with [Tennis Channel president] Ken Solomon. They go way back.”

At one point in his post-playing career, Gimelstob was regarded as one of the most powerful men in tennis. His resume includes commentator, coach, ATP board member and owner of a television production company. Now his stronghold within the sport is rapidly loosening. Any decision by the ATP to keep him on their powerful board will be one condemned for years to come. Despite all he has done for the sport.

It is for this reason why at the upcoming Italian Open only half of the attention will be on the court’s. The other half will be on how the Player’s Council handles this situation. Another new headache for president Novak Djokovic and his fellow members.

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Tough draws for Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep at the Porsche Indoor Grand Prix in Stuttgart

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Reigning US Open and Australian champion and world number 1 Naomi Osaka has been drawn in the same quarter as two-time champion Angelique Kerber and Hsieh Su Wei at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, which features six of the top 10 players of the WTA Ranking. The tournament takes place on indoor clay at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart.

 

Osaka will make her second appreance in the star-studded Stuttgart tournament after losing to Great Britain’s Johanna Konta in the opening round in 2017. The Japanese player, who is receiving a bye from the opening round, is on a collision course for a possible second round match against Hsieh Su Wei, who will make her debut in the Stuttgart tournament against Qiang Wang in the first round.

Last year’s Roland Garros champion Simona Halep could face crowd favourite Andrea Petkovic in the second round. The Romanian player could meet either Kiki Bertens or this year’s Dubai champion Belinda Bencic.

Defending champion and this year’s Miami champion Karolina Pliskova will take on the winner of the blockbuster match between Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka. In this section Caroline Garcia has been drawn with Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, who reached the semifinal in Stuttgart last year and in Miami in 2019. Garcia contributed to the win in the decisive doubles match alongside her teammate Kristina Mladenovic in the Fed Cup semifinal against Romania in Rouen.

In the bottom half of the draw this year’s Australian Open finalist and Sydney champion Petra Kvitova could meet the winner of an all-Latvian first round clash between 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko and Anastasjia Sevastova.

 

 

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