Over Three Months Bianca Andreescu Has Proven She Is The Next Big Thing In Women’s tennis - UBITENNIS
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Over Three Months Bianca Andreescu Has Proven She Is The Next Big Thing In Women’s tennis

The rising star ended 2018 ranked 178th in the world. Now she has won one of the most prestigious tournaments on the WTA Tour.

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Bianca Andreescu (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

If somebody said a year ago that Canada’s Bianca Andreescu would win the Indian Wells title at the age of 18, they would have most likely been called mad.

 

At the time she was ranked outside of the top 200 and battling for points at ITF events across Japan. Even though many knew she was a big talent following a successful junior career, few expected her to rise up the ranks so rapidly. Making her breakout on the pro our in 2019 even more spectacular.

It all started at the ASB Classic in New Zealand at the start of the year. Fighting her way through qualifying, Andreescu stunned the draw with wins over top 10 players Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams. She would go on to reach the final of the tournament before losing to Julia Goerges. Suddenly the WTA Tour was starting to pay attention to the threat posed by the two-time junior grand slam champion in doubles.

Gaining in momentum, Andreescu’s meteoric rise peaked on Sunday at the BNP Paribas Open. Accepting a wild card into the tournament, the teenager stunned former world No.1 Angelique Kerber in three sets to win her maiden WTA title. Becoming the first wild card in history to do so and the youngest player since Serena Williams back in 1999.

“I’d like to thank BNP Paribas for giving me this opportunity. Without them I wouldn’t be in this situation right now. I’m beyond grateful for that.” She said during her press conference.
“It’s incredible to have my name beside so many incredible champions. It’s a dream come true.”

The most appealing thing about Andreescu’s game is her ability to mix up her shot selection. Against Kerber, she frustrated her with a combination of delicate drop shots and deep hitting backhands towards the baseline. Preventing Kerber from maintaining her rhythm in the match.

“She played the whole tournament good. I know that I had to play my best tennis. At the end I was not able to take my chances, but she did it.” Kerber said of the Canadian.

The comparisons

Rightfully describing her journey to the biggest title of her career as a ‘fairytale,’ Andreescu will now have to live up to the expectation and comparisons coming her way. In 2018 at the same tournament it was Naomi Osaka in the limelight. At the same event she won her maiden title on the women’s tour. Osaka would then go on to win back-to-back major titles and become Asia’s first ever No.1 player.

“It’s definitely inspiring seeing her claim the trophy last year and winning two Grand Slams right after that has been amazing to see.” She said of the current No.1.
“I don’t really want to focus on the future right now. I just want to enjoy this moment, because I don’t want to take anything for granted. You never know what next week brings. I just want to savour this.”

One of the most striking things about Andreescu’s play is how mature she appears to be on the court and how well she reads the game. Admittedly against Kerber, there were moments of her having a teenage tantrum. However, she was mainly composed and professional throughout. Contributing to an expanding fan base and praise from top figures in the sport.

One of those admirers is Martina Navratilova. Somebody who is deemed as one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. Speaking on BT Sport about the rising star, she drew parallels between her and Andy Murray.

“‘She still has a way to go to play like him but she is definitely on that trajectory.” Said Navratilova.
“She’s got all the goods – she just believes in herself. What she can improve the most is the forehand, it gets a little off when she gets nervous, physical fitness – that will just happen, she’ll become more match tough. ‘She’s got really great hands, knows when to use what shots. Her tennis IQ, shot selection is really outstanding.”

Murray was 21 before he won his first Masters 1000 title. The male equivalent to the Premier Mandatory events on the WTA Tour.

A product of Canada’s rise in the sport

In recent times it has been Andreescu’s compatriot, Milos Raonic, who has been flying the flag for his country in the world on tennis. However, with a rapid rise in teenage stars emerging from the North American country, Andreescu belongs to a group of stars in the making. Alongside Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Growing up the Canadian trained at Tennis Canada’s Regional Training Centre in Toronto and then the National Training Centre in Montreal. In 2017 the federation named her player of the year. Sylvain Bruneau, who is the current head of women’s tennis for Tennis Canada, serves as Andreescu’s coach.

“It’s easy to get distracted,” Bruneau told The New York Times earlier in the week. “But it’s going to be part of my work to make sure she stays in the moment.”

Trying to get the 18-year-old to stay composed may be easier said than done. She exits Indian Wells with a pay cheque of $1.3 million. Rising to a ranking high of 24th after ending 2018 at 178th in the world.

“Everyone’s victory in Canada gives each one of us motivation and inspiration to also do well. If they can do it, we can.” She said.
“I think this win will definitely give many people confidence, young athletes, maybe aspiring athletes also. And I’m just 18, so if I can do it, they can.”

Andreescu is without a doubt a star in the making, but it remains to be seen how great she can become.

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Serena Williams Named Most Stylish Athlete Of 2019 As She Brushes Off Critics

The 37-year-old says she ‘doesn’t care’ about what people think about what she wears.

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23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams has been awarded with another accolade in her record-breaking career.

 

The 37-year-old has come top in this year’s Most Fashionable list by Sports Illustrated in partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers In America. The honour recognizes athletes who have stood out from the crowd with what they wear. Those who make the shortlist are selected by a panel of stylists, fashion editors and executives and other influencers across the sports and fashion industries.

“My whole career has been really about tennis and fashion. I always try to make a statement when I walk out on the court—to be bold and to be unique and to kind of transcend. I always try to send the message of just being confident and being fierce.” Williams told Sports Illustrated.

Williams has made headlines on the court for the outfits she wears. After wearing a catsuit at last year’s French Open, she opted for a more straightforward design in this year’s tournament. Wearing a zebra-striped outfit decorated with the words ‘mother, champion, queen, goddess’ in French. It was designed by Virgil Abloh, who was named in Time’s 100 most influential people in the world back in 2018. At Wimbledon, the Nike tick on her all-white clothing was made up of 34 Swarovski ® crystals to mark the last time she won the title at the age of 34.

The fashion sense of the American wasn’t a hit with everybody. Her catsuit triggered criticism from the head of the French Tennis Federation. Bernard Giudicelli told France’s Tennis Magazine in 2017 ‘I believe we have sometimes gone too far. Serena’s outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place.’ Williams later played down those comments.

“People always have things to say when you’re wearing fashion. It could be good things. It could be bad things. I don’t care what people say. I’m like just so past it—you could say whatever you want to say.” She said.
“Honestly, you’re allowed to have your opinion. My life is far too complicated to worry about people that want to say mean things. I have a daughter, I have a family, I have a career. I have too much to worry about.”

Williams recently finished runner-up at Wimbledon after losing to Simona Halep in the final. She is set to play at both the Rogers Cup in Canada and Cincinnati Open before the next grand slam tournament.

Note: video embedded from si.com.

 

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Grand Slam

US Open Set To Bypass Age Eligibility Policy To Hand Cori Gauff Wildcard

The New York Grand Slam has confirmed that they will likely bend the rules in order for the teenage star to play in the main draw.

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Cori Gauff was the talk of Wimbledon and now the US Open have said they are willing to make an exception to their own policy in order for the teenager to play in the main draw of their tournament.

 

The 15-year-old American stunned the women’s tour with her run at the All England Club. Becoming the youngest player in the Open Era to successfully come through three rounds of qualifying. Then in the main draw Gauff knocked-out five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round. She also scored wins over Polona Hercog and Magdalena Rabrikova to reach the fourth round. Becoming the youngest player to reach the second week of a major since Jennifer Capriati at the 1991 Wimbledon championships. Gauff’s run was eventually ended by Simona Halep, who went on to win the title.

Now ranked 141st in the world, the rising star is currently limited to how many tournaments she can play in accordance with the WTA’s age-eligibility rule. A policy put in place to prevent early burnout for players. It is a rule that is also followed by the United States Tennis Association, who runs the US Open.

At present Gauff isn’t eligible for any more wild cards in 2019 after already using her three allotted ones. Doing so in the Miami Open, French Open qualifiers and Wimbledon qualifiers. Chris Widmaier, who is the director of communications for the USTA, has told The New York Post that he expects Gauff to receive a pass for the upcoming grand slam. Confirming that it is likely that she will be given a special exemption from the policy.

“We would expect to see Coco in the main draw of the US Open,’’ said Widmaier. “She certainly won the hearts of tennis fans in our country with her Wimbledon performance. It’s not every day an athlete of her age becomes water-cooler talk.‘’

The WTA has also said that they will not stand in the way of the USTA if they wish to bend the rules. Under the Rule Gauff is allowed to play a maximum of 10 tournaments between her 15th and 16th birthdays. Plus one of the two year-end tournaments if she qualifies and the Fed Cup.

“The US Open, as a Grand Slam, reserves the right to not align with the Age Eligibility Rule and offer a player a Wild Card in excess of her limit per the Age Eligibility Rule,’’ a WTA spokesperson told the NY Post.

A series of players have urged the WTA to make changes to their policy regarding young players in light of Gauff’s rapid rise. One of the most notable is Roger Federer, who is the co-founder of the Team8 management company that represents Gauff.

“I understand the rule completely that they want the young players not to play too much,” he said. “I’ve told the WTA they should loosen up the rules. I loved seeing [Martina] Hingis doing what she did at a young age.”

It is unclear if the WTA will be making any changes in the near future.

The US Open will get underway on August 26th.

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The Women’s Stats Leaders Of Wimbledon 2019

Although Simona Halep won Wimbledon, it was Serena Williams who dominated most of the stats at this year’s tournament.

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Simona Halep (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

As the third grand slam of the year concludes, let’s reflect on who the stats leaders at Wimbledon in the Women’s tournament. 

 

The Women’s tournament once again provided many shocks, unpredictable results, storylines and great champions rising to the top.

But in the end it was Simona Halep who won her second grand slam and first Wimbledon title as she demolished Serena Williams in the final.

As the tournament has now ended let’s break the tournament down and see how the Women’s tournament reflected overall in terms of Quality.

Most Aces

Serena Williams reached another Wimbledon final this year and her serve was the key to reaching the second Saturday as she dominated most of her opponents.

Although Simona Halep may have figured her service patterns, her previous six opponents didn’t as she topped the aces chart.

  1. Serena Williams – 47
  2. Karolina Pliskova – 36
  3. Karolina Muchova – 29
  4. Johanna Konta – 28
  5. Ashleigh Barty – 26

Double Faults

Although both Dayana Yastremska and Alison Riske made the second week of this year’s Wimbledon, both Women topped the double faults tally.

  1. Dayana Yastremska – 26
  2. Alison Riske – 25
  3. Kristina Mladenovic – 19
  4. Kaia Kanepi – 17
  5. Cori Gauff – 15

Fastest Serve (MPH)

Serena once again topped this particular statistic although 15 year-old rising sensation Cori Gauff came close en route to the fourth round.

  1. Serena Williams – 122
  2. Polona Hercog – 120
  3. Cori Gauff – 119
  4. Venus Williams, Petra Martic, Karolina Pliskova and Naomi Osaka – 118

Longest Match

Karolina Muchova’s surprise win over Karolina Pliskova was the longest match of the Women’s tournament and the closes to a 12-12 tiebreak.

  1. Karolina Muchova def Karolina Pliskova – 3 hours and 17 minutes
  2. Alison Risek def Ivana Jorovic – 2 hours and 50 minutes
  3. Elise Mertens def Qiang Wang – 2 hours and 49 minutes
  4. Cori Gauff def Polona Hercog – 2 hours and 47 minutes
  5. Monica Puig def Anna Karolina Schmiedlova – 2 hours and 35 minutes

The Most Serve and Volley In Their Game 

One of the reasons why Barbora Strycova made the semi-finals of the singles and became the new doubles world number one, was her ability to serve and volley, which is why she tops this particular chart.

  1. Barbora Strycova – 19% (69/366)
  2. Kirsten Flipkens – 14% (16/118)
  3. Taylor Townsend – 11% (17/153)
  4. Andrea Petkovic – 10% (9/91)
  5. Laura Siegemund – 9% (13/169)

Most Return Winners

Dayana Yastremska and Serena Williams top this stat as they made their opponents pay for any average serves coming their way.

  1. Dayana Yastremska – 25
  2. Serena Williams – 17
  3. Petra Kvitova – 12
  4. Shuai Zhang – 12
  5. Amanda Anisimova, Karolina Pliskova, Karolina Muchova and Alison Riske – 10

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