Simona Halep Rises To No.2 With Win In Doha, But Insists Focus Isn’t On The Rankings - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep Rises To No.2 With Win In Doha, But Insists Focus Isn’t On The Rankings

Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber gain in momentum at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.

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Simona Halep (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Top seed Simona Halep had a duo of reasons to celebrate at the Qatar Open on Wednesday.

 

The reigning French Open champion kick-off her campaign in Doha with a 6-2, 6-3, win over Lesia Tsurenko to book a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament. Despite the straightforward score, Halep was forced to battle back in the second set. Recovering from a 1-3 deficit by winning five games in a row to claim the match. The win increased Halep’s winning head-to-head against the Ukrainian to 6-0.

“It’s always tough to play against her, because she doesn’t give pace. She has a strange game in the direction that she feels the ball really well,” wtatennis.com quoted Halep as saying.
“It’s not easy to hit the ball from her balls. It’s always tough, but I got the feeling against her, and maybe that’s why I can win every time I play against her.”

As a consequence of her latest win, the 27-year-old has ensured that she will rise back to world No.2 next week. Halep was in a three-way race to the spot with Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.  Stephens isn’t playing in Doha this week and Pliskova has withdrawn due to a viral illness. World No.1 Naomi Osaka will keep the top spot this week regardless of how well Halep performs.

“It doesn’t matter now the ranking,” Halep said during her on-court interview afterwards. “I just play to win every match I play. I step on the court I just want to see how good I can be. If I’m second now I will fight to be number one again. Now I just want to be back on court and enjoy tennis.”

Halep’s next challenge comes in the form of Germany’s Julia Goerges. A player Halep last faced at the 2016 Miami Open. Goerges outlasted Alison Riske 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-4, in a marathon clash that lasted more than two-and-a-half hours. The German failed to convert six match points during the second set.

Kerber reaches new milestone

chryslène caillaud
Copyright : @Sport Vision

Elsewhere at the tournament, two-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber recorded her 600th win on the tour at the age of 31. The third seed won 65% of her service points and blasted 10 winners past Anett Kontaveit during her 6-1, 7-6(3), victory. Kerber, who broke her opponent five times during their clash, prevailed on her eighth match point.

“In the second set, she had nothing to lose at the end,” Kerber said of Kontaveit during her press conference. “She played better and better. And, yeah, I was always really close to win the match, but she was always fighting. At the end I was happy that I closed it out in two sets and played good in the tiebreak.”

This week Kerber is seeking her first title since winning Wimbledon back in July. She will next take on Barbora Strycova, who is currently ranked fifth in the doubles.  The Czech down Russian qualified Anna Blinkova 6-0, 3-6, 6-0.

“I know what to expect against her,” Kerber said. “I know that I have to play my tennis. Yeah, she played good here already. We practiced a few times together.
“You know, it will be tricky match, because you never know how the weather conditions are here as well tomorrow. But, yeah, I’m looking forward to playing another good match here.”

All four quarter-final matches will be played on Thursday at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.

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‘Probably Gonna Quit’ – Tennys Sandgren Blasts Performance After missing Out On Olympic Medal

The tennis star described his fourth place finish as ‘dog s**t.”

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Former Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren said he is close to retiring from tennis after missing out on a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

 

Sandgren and doubles partner Austin Krajicek fell in straight sets to the New Zealand pairing of Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell, who are the first tennis players from their country in over 100 years to win a medal. The loss is a frustrating outcome for the American who wasn’t afraid to express how he felt after the match. Tokyo was the ninth doubles tournament Sandgren has played in this year.

“I mean, who f*ing cares you know, what do I have to show for it? We have a good week and fourth place is dog s**t.” He told the Olympic News Service.

Speaking straight after his loss, the highly emotional 30-year-old then cast doubt on his future in the sport. He is currently ranked 82nd in the world and has a win-loss record of 6-14 so far this year. However, he is yet to reach a quarter-final in singles.

I’m probably gonna quit. That might be my last match. I’m close, yeah, I’m close.” He replied when asked about his career.

As for if he would have done anything different in the bronze medal match, Sandgren replied ‘not to have been so bad.’ He also expressed disappointment that the tennis tournament took place behind closed doors. Prior to the Olympics, organisers decided to hold all events in Tokyo without fans due to a surge of COVID-19 cases in the city.

“It would have been a great event with fans,” he via via teamusa.org. “Playing on an outside court without fans, I mean, you might as well be playing in Idaho in the middle of nowhere.”

Sandgren and Krajicek were America’s last chance to win a medal in the tennis competition. It is the first time the country has failed to win any medal since tennis returned as an Olympic event in 1988.

“There’s not much you can say about that except it’s pretty, pretty devastating to lose that one. You know, give yourself a chance to get a medal and then to lose those two (matches – including the men’s doubles semifinal) is tough, but you have to give those guys credit today. They played well.” Krajicek concluded.

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Fabio Fognini Apologises For Use Of Homophobic Slur During Olympic Match

The Italian says he regrets using the ‘stupid expression’ during his third round clash.

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Fabio Fognini said the heat got to him during his third round clash with Daniil Medvedev at the Tokyo Olympics after he was caught saying a homophobic slur at himself.

 

The world No.31 lost to Medvedev in three sets during what was incredibly hot and humid conditions with both players taking a 10-minute break after the second set under the extreme weather policy. Frustrated with how his match was going, Fognini was caught by broadcasters saying the word ‘frocio’ which is an anti-gay term in his native language. The exact phrase he used was ‘Frocio, sei un frocio’ which was directed towards himself only.

Following his Olympic exit, the 34-year-old issued a statement on social media in which he apologised for making those remarks during his match. In a post uploaded onto his Instagram story which had a rainbow theme background, Fognini reiterated that he supports the LGBT community and the use of the slur was done in the heat of the moment.

The heat got to my head!” Fognini wrote.
“In today’s (Wednesday’s) match I used a really stupid expression towards myself. Obviously I didn’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities.
“I love the LGBT community and I apologize for the nonsense that came out of me.”

It is not the first time a player has been caught using a homophobic term during a tennis match this year. Earlier in the season Denmark’s Holger Rune was fined for a term he used during a Challenger match. The former world No.1 junior player later apologised for those comments.

Unlike the women’s Tour, there are currently no publicly out players in men’s tennis and only a select few have come out in the past. In June former top 100 player Brain Vahaly, who came out as gay after retiring from the sport, spoke to UbiTennis about his experience.

Despite his loss, Fognini was the only player from his country to reach the third round of the men’s draw in Tokyo. Lorenzo Sonego, who was seeded two places higher than him, lost in the second round to Nikoloz Basilashvili.

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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