World No.1 Simona Halep Handed Brutal Australian Open Draw - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam

World No.1 Simona Halep Handed Brutal Australian Open Draw

The Romanian may have to take on two former grand slam champions within the first week of the tournament.

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Top seed Simona Halep faces a daunting task to win her second grand slam title at the Australian Open with the prospect of playing both of the Williams sisters before the quarter-final stage.

 

Halep, who won her maiden grand slam title last year at the French Open, is yet to win a match this season. At the Sydney International she crashed out in straight sets to Ash Barty. The Romanian has hampered by a back injury towards the end of last year and the split with coach Darren Cahill during the off-season on mutual grounds.

Now flying solo on the tour, Halep will kick-off her Australian Open campaign against the dangerous Kaia Kanepi. Knepi defeated Halep in the first round of the US Open in September, but hasn’t played since due to injury. Should she progress, Halep faces the prospect of playing Venus Williams in the third round followed by Serena in the fourth.

“It’s a tough match for sure, but the one thing Simona does well is that she does rise up to these kinds of challenges.” Cahill commented about Haelp’s clash with Kanepi.
“It is very difficult to beat her (Halep) two times in a row because she is a great student of the game, but it’s going to be a cracking first round match.”

As a result of being runner-up last year, Halep has a wealth of ranking points to defend in order to retain her world No.1 position that she has held since February.

23-time grand slam champion Williams will start her campaign against Tatjana Maria from Germany in what will be their first ever meeting on the tour. Then she could play Eugenie Bouchard or Peng Shuai followed by Carla Suarez Navarro. This year the American is seeking to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record for most grand slam singles titles won.

Reigning champion Caroline Wozniacki will seek to become the first woman to win back-to-back titles in Melbourne since Victoria Azarenka (2012-2013). The Danish third seed will start against Alison Van Uytvanck, who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon last year. Further in the draw, she could play Maria Sharapova in the third round followed by either Barty or Jelena Ostapenko. Greece’s Maria Sakkari is also a dangerous lurker in her section.

“I can’t believe it has been a year already and we’re back. It’s awesome to be back.” Wozniacki said during the draw presentation.

Second seed Angelique Kerber takes on Polona Hercog in her first match. The German has been drawn in the same section as Donna Vekic. Meaning she will play no player ranked higher than 29th in her first three rounds. Then a potential showdown with either Julia Goerges, who recently won the ASB Classic, or Caroline Garcia awaits.

Naomi Osaka has also benefited for a relatively kind draw. The US Open champion starts against Poland’s Magda Linette, but could face a tough third round clash against unseeded Azarenka. Azarenka takes on Laura Siegemund in the first round.

Top 10 seeds and their first opponents

(1) Halep Vs Kanepi
(2) Kerber Vs Hercog
(3) Wozniacki Vs Van Uytvanck
(4) Osaka Vs Linette
(5) Stephens Vs Townsend
(6) Svitolina Vs qualifier
(7) Pliskova Vs qualifier
(8) Kvitova Vs Rybarikova
(9) Bertens Vs Riske
(10) Kasatkina Vs Bacsinszky

Projected fourth round matches

(1) Halep Vs (16) Williams
(10) Kasatkina Vs (7) Pliskova
(4) Osaka Vs (13) Sevastova
(12) Bertens Vs (6) Svitolina
(8) Kvitova Vs (11) Sabalenka
(15) Barty Vs (3) Wozniacki
(5) Stephens Vs (9) Bertens
(14) Goerges Vs (2) Kerber

Full draw

Grand Slam

US Open Leads The Way In Grand Slam Sponsorship Deals, Says Study

An insight into the multi-million dollar business of grand slam tennis.

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Five out of the 10 most expensive rights deals in grand slam tennis belong to the US Open according to a report published by a global intelligence service.

 

SportBusiness has valued the American major as having deals worth in excess of $67 million. Their findings are based on ‘industry sources’ and takes into account only rights fees and not ‘account value.’ Besides the US Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open have two deals that have made the top 10. Meanwhile, Roland Garros only has one, but it is the second highest.

The top deal regarding the US Open is a $20 million yearly agreement with JP Morgan Chase. A financial services company that is ranked as one of the largest banks in the world in terms of assets. They have been a prime sponsor since 2005 and reportedly signed a new three-year deal in 2018. The US Open also has high-value deals, with Emirates ($17M), American Express ($10M), Mercedes-Benz (10M) and Rolex ($10M).

Currently the richest grand slam in terms of sponsorship revenue, it comes as no surprise that this year’s US Open Prize money is also a record for the majors. The pool will be worth $57 million with both the men’s and women’s singles champion taking home $3,850,000. An increase of $50,000 compared to last year. Runners-up will each receive $1,900,000.

Elsewhere, the French Open benefits heavily from their partnership with banking group BNP Paribas. A deal worth $17.5 a year. Roland Garros has the second highest share of the total grand slam revenue after the US Open, but there is little to separate them. SportsBusiness concludes Flushing Meadows leads with a 29% share, followed by the French Open with 28% and Australian Open with 27%. The only notable difference is that Wimbledon lags behind at 16%. However, Wimbledon’s revenue exceeded $50M for the first time this year.

Another notable trend identified by SportsBusiness is the growing presence of Chinese investments. A series of new deals this year included the Australian Open scoring a $14.1M deal with beverage company Luzhou Laojiao. Meanwhile, Wimbledon joined forces with their first ever Asian sponsor Oppo in a deal worth $11M. Later this year, China will host the WTA Finals for the first time in its history with a record prize money pool of $14M. Double of what was on offer last year at the year-end tournament in Singapore.

List of the 10 most expensive grand slam deals

  1. JP Morgan Chase and the US Open ($20M)
  2. BNP Paribas and the French Open ($17.5M)
  3. Emirates and the US Open ($17M)
  4. Kia Motors and the Australian Open ($14.1M)
  5. Luzhou Laojiao and the Australian Open (14.1M)
  6. Rolex and Wimbledon (12.3M)
  7. Oppo and Wimbledon ($11M)
  8. American Express and the US Open ($10M)
  9. Mercedes-Benz and the US Open ($10M)
  10. Rolex and the US Open (£10M)

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Grand Slam

How Many Points Are Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer And Co. Defending Until The US Open?

The full breakdown of how many points every member in the top 20 on the men’s tour have to defend over the coming weeks.

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It has been just over a week since Novak Djokovic won his 16th major title at Wimbledon, but the focus has already switched to the final grand slam of the season.

 

The US Open will begin during the final week of August. Held at Flushing Meadows in New York, the tournament will have the biggest prize money pool in grand slam history. Totalling to an amount of more than $57 million. Between now and then, players will be battling to defend their rankings points on the North American hard courts with this time of the year being more crucial for some than others.

Under the current ranking format, any points a player wins at a tournament are theirs until the following year. Then they have the chance to defend those points. For example Djokovic is the current Cincinnati Open champion and won 1000 points in 2018. Therefore, this year, he is defending 1000 points in the tournament.

Regning US Open champion Djokovic has the most points to defend during this period with his tally being 3090 points. In fact, the world No.1 in the only person in the top 20 defending more than 2000 points. A true testament to his consistency last year.

Roger Federer potentially has the chance to reclaim the world No.2 spot from Rafael Nadal depending on how both men perform. The Swiss player has 780 points at stake, compared to 1720 for his rival. However, Federer will only play one tournament prior to New York compared to two for Nadal. He will miss the Roger’s Cup in Canada in order to have a longer rest period.

At the other end of the spectrum, Gael Monfils only has 90 points to defend. This time last year the Frenchman was struggling with injury and retired from his second round match at the US Open due to his wrist.

Here is a full breakdown of the amount of points the top 20 players are defending from now until the end of the US Open:-

Ranking (as of 23/7/19)
Player
 2018 performance
Points Defending
1 Novak Djokovic  – R3 Rogers Cup
– Cincinnati Champion
– US Open champion
3090
2 Rafael Nadal – Rogers Cup champion
– SF US Open
1720
3 Roger Federer – Cincinnati Finalist
-R4 US Open
780
4 Dominic Thiem -QF Hamburg
-R2 Kitzbuhel
-R2 Rogers Cup
-QF US Open
460
5 Alexander Zverev – Washington champion
– QF Rogers Cup
– R2 Cincinnati
-R3 US Open
780
6 Stefanos Tsitsipas -SF Washington
-Rogers Cup finalist
-R1 Cincinnati
-R2 US Open
835
7 Kei Nishikori -QF Washington
-R1 Rogers Cup
-R2 Cincinnati
-SF US Open
865
8 Karen Khachanov -R2 Washington
-SF Rogers Cup
-R3 Cincinnati
-R3 US Open
540
9 Daniil Medvedev -R2 Washington
-R3 Rogers Cup
-R1 Cincinnati
-Winston Salem champion
-R3 US Open
510
10 Fabio Fognini -Bastad champion
-Los Cabos champion
-R2 Gstaad
-R2 Rogers Cup
-R2 US Open
590
11 Kevin Anderson -SF Rogers Cup
-R3 Cincinnati
-R4 US Open
630
12 Juan Martin del Potro -Los Cabos finalist
-QF Cincinnati
-US Open finalist
1530
13 Roberto Bautista Agut -Gstaad finalist
-R1 US Open
160
14 John Isner -Atlanta champion
-R2 Washington
-R3 Rogers Cup
-R1 Cincinnati
-QF US Open
710
15 Borna Coric -R2 Gstaad
-R2 Rogers Cup
-R2 Cincinnati
-R4 US Open
270
16 Nikoloz Basilashvili – Hamburg champion
-R1 Kitzbuhel
-R2 Winston Salem
-R4 US Open
700
17 Marin Cilic -QF Rogers Cup
-SF Cincinnati
-QF US Open
900
18 David Goffin -QF Washington
-R1 Rogers Cup
-SF Cincinnati
-R4 US Open
640
19 Gael Monfils -R2 Hamburg
-R2 US Open
90
20 Matteo Berrettini -R2 Bastad
-Gstaad champion
-QF Kitzbuhel
-R3 Winston Salem
-R1 US Open
345

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Tim Henman Backs Djokovic To Break Federer’s Grand Slam Record

The former world No.4 shares his views about the two tennis legends.

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Former British No.1 Tim Henman believes Novak Djokovic is in a strong position to win more major titles than Roger Federer before he retires from the sport.

 

The world No.1 recently defeated Federer in a five-set epic at Wimbledon to clinch his 16th grand slam title. Placing him third on the all-time list behind Rafael Nadal (18) and Federer (20). Djokovic has won four out of the past five grand slam tournaments. The only exception occurred at the French Open where he lost in the semi-finals to Dominic Thiem.

Speaking to sports agency Omnisport during a HSBC event that took place earlier in the week, Henman believes age is on Djokovicv’s side in his bid to break the record of his Swiss Rival. Out of the Big Three the Serbian is the youngest at 32. Nadal is a year older at 33 and Federer turns 38 later this year.

“It’s going to be very interesting to watch,” said Henman.
“He’s five years younger than Federer so he’s got much more time on his side.
“The level of play that Djokovic is at right now, it really wouldn’t surprise me if he did overtake Federer in the future.”

Shortly after his latest win, Djokovic stated that he has no intention of retiring anytime soon. Citing inspiration from Federer and his ability to continue playing at his age. Giving him more than enough time to become the most decorated singles player in grand slam history on the men’s tour.

“Roger hopes to inspire people to keep going at 37,” he said. “I’m one of them. The fact that they have made history of this sport motivates me as well, inspires me to try to do what they have done, what they’ve achieved, and even more.”

Besides the dominance of Djokovic, Henman also said that nobody should be writing off Federer yet. The world No.3 had two match points to win the Wimbledon trophy for a record ninth time, but failed to convert.

“I don’t think so. I think it’s very difficult to write these guys off that are playing at such a high level.” Henman replied when asked if Wimbledon was Federer’s last shot at grand slam glory.
“Federer’s not going to be around forever but I think it’s important we all enjoy him while he’s still playing.”

Djokovic is set to return to action next month at the Rogers Cup in Canada. Meanwhile, Federer will not be returning to competition until the Cincinnati Open, which takes place after the Canadian Masters 1000 event.

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