By Matthew Marolf
Only three of the top eight seeds advanced to the quarterfinals in both men’s and women’s singles, in a tournament that’s been rife with upsets. On the women’s side, one match today features two multi-Major winners, while the other features two of the WTA’s best performers so far this year. On the men’s side, all four men playing today have never won a Major or a Masters 1,000 event, but one of them will be a finalist come Sunday.
Angelique Kerber (8) vs. Venus Williams
Can Venus’s dream run in tennis paradise continue? She was down a set and two breaks on Saturday against this year’s best player to date, Petra Kvitova, yet still found a way to win. Venus has also won two more rounds since then, both in straight sets. After boycotting this event for 15 years, she’s reached the quarterfinals or better in each of the past three years. Who would have predicted this Premier Mandatory event in Indian Wells would become her best tournament?
But she faces another dangerous lefty today in Kerber, who holds a 5-3 career edge over Venus. Their most notable contest was in the 2016 Wimbledon semi-finals, which Kerber won in straight sets. Venus did avenge that loss a year later in Miami, but Kerber won their last meeting in Sydney just over a year ago. Kerber is coming off a draining, late-night battle against Aryna Sabalenka on Tuesday, though she did get a full day’s rest ahead of this quarterfinal. The slower hard court conditions should favour Kerber, but we know the crowd will be definitively behind Venus, which has already been a significant factor in this tournament. In the end, Kerber’s ability to turn defence into offensive will still likely provide a bit too much resistance for Venus to overcome.
Dominic Thiem (7) vs. Gael Monfils (18)
Historically a poor performer in the second half of the year, Thiem turned that around in 2018. Dominic played the best hard court tennis of his career at the US Open, where he upset Kevin Anderson in straight sets, and fought Nadal in a near-five hour epic in one of last year’s best matches.
But Thiem then struggled to start off this year, with a 3-4 record heading into this tournament. The 25-year-old Austrian is turning that around here, having not dropped a set on his way to this Masters 1,000 quarterfinal. On the other side of the net is one of 2019’s hottest players. Monfils is 15-3 in 2019, and won 11 matches in February alone. The 32-year-old Frenchman was the champion in Rotterdam, and a semi-finalist in both Sofia and Dubai. And in his last two matches this week, he dropped only five games in four sets.
However, he’s 0-4 lifetime against Thiem. They played in Indian Wells two years ago, with Dominic winning comfortably. I’m expecting an exciting, prolonged match here between two of the ATP’s most impressive athletes. As sharp and motivated as Monfils has looked, in a big match situation, I’m going with the more reliable player in Thiem.
Other notable matches on Day 11:
Karolina Pliskova (5) vs. Belinda Bencic (23), who won in Dubai a few weeks ago and upset World No.1 Naomi Osaka on Tuesday.
Milos Raonic (13) vs. Lucky Loser Miomir Kecmanovic, the 130th-ranked player in the world who has capitalized on being placed in an open part of the draw.
REPORT: Madrid Open To Be Axed Amid COVID-19 Concerns In Latest Setback For Tennis
Hopes of Spain holding their top tennis event in 2020 are over.
The world of tennis is set to suffer another severe blow with multiple media sources confirming that organisers of Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament will officially cancel their event on Tuesday.
The Mutua Madrid Open will be removed from the 2020 calendar following a meeting involving tournament owner Iron Tiriac. Recently doubts have been cast on the event after local health officials called for it to be suspended due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Although the final decision was up to Tiriac and his team. It had been due to take place between September 12 to 20, following the conclusion of the US Open.
“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez told L’Equipe over the weekend.
Spain has seen their rate of COVID-19 cases rapidly rise since the country ended its lockdown. According to El Pais, the number of cases recorded within 24 hours is eight times the amount compared to 40 days ago. Rising from 334 (June 20) to 2,789 (between July 29 and 30). On Friday July 31st there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.
Held at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open is a key event for both men and women. It is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. Last year each of the singles champions took home €1,202,520 in prize money. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.
The demise of Madrid this year is another setback for what is becoming a rapidly thinning 2020 tennis calendar. Within the past two weeks China has confirmed that they will not be hosting any tournaments this year, Japan’s scrapped it’s premier women’s event and the Italian Open has been advised to not allow any fans to their event this year.
As a result of the latest development, only two WTA clay-court events will take place after the US Open leading up to Roland Garros. They are both set to get underway on September 21st in Rome and Strasbourg. As for the men, Rome will be their only point of call.
Serena Williams leads a high-quality line-up in Lexington
Twenty-three time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will be the top seed at the inaugural edition of the Lexington Open from 10th August 2020 on the same week as the Prague Open. The Lexington Open will be the first US tournament of the US hard court season, which will continue with the Western and Southern Open and the US Open, which will be held in the same venue at Flushing Meadows in New York.
Serena was very close to tie Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, but lost four times in a Major final after giving birth to her daughter Olympia.
The US legend will play her first match since she hepled the US team beat Latvia in the Fed Cup last March in Everett. There Serena beat Jelena Ostapenko but she was defeated by Anastasija Sevastova.
Williams will lead a star-studded line-up, which features this year’s Australian Open finalist and former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, Aryna Sabalenka, Sloane Stephens, Johanna Konta, Amanda Anisimova and Yulia Putintseva, Ons Jabeur, Victoria Azarenka, Heather Watson and US rising star Cori Gauff.
Sabalenka won two consecutive editions of the Wuhan tournament in 2018 and 2019, in Shenzhen in 2019, the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and the Doha final in 2020.
Stephens won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2017 and reached the final at 2018 Roland Garros. She finished runner-up to Elina Svitolina at the 2018 WTA Finals in Singapore. The US player lost to Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez in Monterrey in her last WTA Tour match before the pandemic.
Amanda Anisimova won her maiden WTA title in Bogotà in 2019 in her first professional tour tournament on clay. Last year the young US player beat Simona Halep en route to becoming the youngest semifinalist at the French Open since 2006. This year Amanda lost to Serena Williams in the semifinal in Auckland last January.
Johanna Konta reached the French Open semifinal and the Rome Final in 2019. The British player enjoyed her best year in 2017, when she won the Miami title and reached the Wimbledon semifinal rising to her best ranking at world number 4.
The Top seed Open will be the first WTA tournament to be played in the United States since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the United States. The Kentucky tournament will feature a 32-player singles draw and a 16-player doubles field.
Kremlin Cup Becomes Latest Tournament Thrown Into Uncertainty
Will there be tennis in Russia this year?
There could be a new blow to both the ATP and WTA Tour’s with officials admitting that the venue of Russia’s top tennis tournament is yet to be approved.
The Kremlin Cup in Moscow is one of three events to be currently included on the provisional WTA Calendar beyond the French Open along with Seoul, South Korea and Linz, Austria. This year’s 2020 tennis season has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought the sport to a standstill since March. Due to the virus all events set to take place in China later this year have been axed which includes the season-ending WTA Finals.
Shamil Tarpischev, who is the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, has said hopes of the Kremlin Cup taking place in 2020 depends on one venue in Moscow which he describes as the ‘only option.’ The tournament was held at the Olympic Stadium between 1990-2018, but it is currently going through a two-year renovation. Last year it took place at a temporary location at the Krylatskoye Ice Palace.
However, Tarpischev said the only place the tournament can be hosted in 2020 is at the CSKA track and field arena. The federation has already applied to use the venue but they are yet to get the necessary authorisation.
“CSKA is overcrowded, and therefore they have not given us an answer yet,” The Russian tennis chief told Tass news agency on Wednesday. “We are waiting for a decision in the near future, we sent all the letters. But this is our only option – there is nowhere else to play [VTB Kremlin Cup] this year.”
Should they get the green light, officials intend to hold the men’s and women’s tournaments separately instead of their original plan of a combined event. Tarpischev has said the ATP event will take place from October 19 to October 25. Although this is yet to be confirmed by the ATP, who have not published their calendar for events taking place after September. Meanwhile, the women’s event is set to take place during the first week of November (2-8).
The Kremlin Cup is currently classed as an ATP 250 event for the men and a Premier for the women. Andrey Rublev and Belinda Bencic are the reigning champions.
Petra Martic secures her spot in the semifinal in Palermo after hard-fought win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich
Dayana Yastremska reaches quarter finals in Palermo
REPORT: Players Threatening To Withdraw From US Open If Quarantine Assurances Are Not Met
Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo
The Rome men’s Masters 1000 tournament could be expanded to 96 players
Ivan Ljubicic To Quit Coaching After Federer, Criticises Hype Over GOAT Grand Slam Debate
Dayana Yastremska Labels Controversial Twitter Photo A ‘Misunderstanding’
Federer shoots a new Barilla commercial on an Italian rooftop
The Meaning Of Naomi Osaka’s Commitment To Racial Equity
Chris Evert: “Navratilova and I transcended the game”
[EXCLUSIVE] Alexei Popyrin: “I’m Not Going To The US Open, It’s Too Risky”
Chris Evert: “Navratilova and I transcended the game”
[EXCLUSIVE] Patrick Mouratoglou: “I’m A Salesman, Not A Liar”
(EXCLUSIVE) Mats Wilander: “Lendl Had Nightmares Playing Me And Djokovic Meant No Harm With Adria Tour”
[EXCLUSIVE] Brandon Nakashima: “I Love Federer, But My Game Resembles More Djokovic’s”
Hot Topics2 days ago
Novak Djokovic Undecided On US Open Participation
Hot Topics2 days ago
USTA To Ban Players Who Violate ‘Bubble’ Policy
Grand Slam2 days ago
2020 US Open Champions To Get $3 Million Payout Amid COVID-19 Crises
WTA2 days ago
Donna Vekic suffers shock loss to Italian wildcard
ATP2 days ago
Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia
WTA3 days ago
Camila Giorgi starts her Palermo campaign with a straight-set win over Rebecca Peterson
Latest news3 days ago
Old Habits Die Hard For Some In Palermo
WTA3 days ago
Petra Martic scores easy win in Palermo