Simona Halep Faces Tough Task To Overhaul Kvitova As Madrid Champion - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep Faces Tough Task To Overhaul Kvitova As Madrid Champion

Simona Halep faces a tough task in trying to overhaul Petra Kvitova in Madrid.

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Simona Halep (@MutuaMadridOpen - Twitter)

Simona Halep faces a tough task in her bid to overhaul Petra Kvitova as Madrid champion as preparation for Roland Garros continues. 

 

The Romanian is looking to build momentum ahead of her Roland Garros title defence next month in Paris. But a tough draw in Madrid has made her life difficult in looking to overhaul Petra Kvitova in Madrid.

After winning in Stuttgart last week, Kvitova is looking to successfully defend her title in the Spanish capital and faces Sofia Kenin in the first round.

Meanwhile the likes of Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza are looking to keep up their strong reputations on the clay.

1st Quarter 

World number one Naomi Osaka headlines the draw as she looks to extend her advantage at the top of the WTA rankings. A tough test against Dominika Cibulkova could stop her progress though with a potential third round match with Anett Kontaveit on the cards.

Osaka’s potential last eight opponent is Karolina Pliskova, who is only just recovering from a viral illness. The Czech Republican starts against Ukrainian rising star Dayana Yastremska. Also in her section is Belinda Bencic, who starts against Alison Van Uytvanck , and a crunch match between Aryna Sabalenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Overall this section of the draw is mixed with power and a couple of excellent matches.

2nd Quarter

This is where we find Roland Garros champion Simona Halep, who has won twice in Madrid before. A match against a qualifier kicks off her campaign with a potential second round meeting with Johanna Konta awaiting her.

Also in this section we have Carla Suarez Navarro taking on Maria Sakkari in what is expected to be a high-quality match. Also Elina Svitolina returns from her injury to take on Pauline Parmentier as she looks to set an early bench-marker for the clay season.

Should the seeds and previous year’s form match up then we could be set for a titanic last eight match between Halep and Svitolina, two of the favourites for Roland Garros next month.

3rd Quarter

The third quarter of the draw sees Angelique Kerber take on Lesia Tsurenko in the opening round. The German will look to complete her career grand slam in Paris next month but has a complicated relationship with the red dirt. A possible second round meeting with Garbine Muguruza could await should the Spaniard get past Istanbul champion Petra Martic.

Out of sorts Sloane Stephens also appears in this section as she teams up with new coach Sven Groenefeld for the first time this week. A qualifier awaits for the American with a second round meeting with Daria Kasatkina and Victoria Azarenka on the cards.

Also in this section in the draw sees Caroline Wozniacki and in-form Donna Vekic.

4th Quarter

In the final quarter of the draw, defending champion Petra Kvitova will play Sofia Kenin in the opening match. The Stuttgart champion also has Barbora Strycova, Caroline Garcia and Madison Keys in her section of the draw.

Should Kvitova make the quarter-finals, a rematch of last year’s final and the Stuttgart final awaits in Kiki Bertens, who plays Katerina Siniakova in round one. Bertens will also fancy her chances in Paris next month as she plays the winner of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova versus Jelena Ostapenko in the second round.

Here is the full draw, with main draw action beginning on Saturday:

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Beatriz Haddad Maia Provisionally Suspended After Testing Positive For SARMS

Top 100 player Beatriz Haddad Maia has been provisionally suspended after being caught under the ITF Anti-Doping Programme.

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Beatriz Haddad Maia (@TennisChannel - Twitter)

World number 99 Beatriz Haddad Maia has been provisionally suspended by the ITF for testing positive for the drug SARMS. 

 

The incident in question involves the WTA 125k event in Bol, Croatia where the Brazilian’s urine sample was found to contain two types of the SARM drug.

Currently ranked 99, Haddad Maia lost in the opening round to Sara Sorriibes Tormo at the event in Croatia and with immediate effect has been suspended.

In their statement the ITF said that the 23 year-old had been suspended under article 8.1.3(c) of the Anti-Doping Programme.

“Ms. Haddad Maia, a 23-year-old player from Brazil, provided a urine sample on 4 June 2019 in association with her participation in the WTA Croatia Bol Open held in Bol, Croatia from 3 June to 9 June,” the ITF said in the statement on Tuesday afternoon.

“That sample was sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada for analysis, and was found to contain SARM S-22 and SARM LGD-4033 metabolite. SARM S-22 and SARM LGD-4033 are Non-Specified substances, which are prohibited under category S1 of the 2019 WADA Prohibited List (Anabolic Agents), and therefore are also prohibited under the Programme. Positive tests for Non-Specified Substances carry a mandatory Provisional Suspension.”

It is understood that Haddad Maia will appeal her case and is now the third Brazilian to be caught under the Anti-Doping programme after Thomaz Bellucci and Joao Souza.

Recently Haddad Maia had beaten former world number one Garbine Muguruza at Wimbledon before losing to Harriet Dart in the next round.

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Jack Sock Feeling Refreshed Ahead Of Tennis Return In Atlanta

Jack Sock is feeling ready to go ahead of his return to Tennis in Atlanta on Tuesday evening.

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Jack Sock (@BNPPARIBASOPEN - Twitter)

Jack Sock is feeling refreshed and raring to go as he looks to make his return to Tennis this week in Atlanta. 

 

After missing six months of action due to two torn ligaments in his thumb, Jack Sock is ready to make his return this week in Atlanta.

Although the injury was frustrating, Sock sees it as a blessing in disguise as he finished 2018 with a 8-22 record in singles, “It’s very unfortunate to get injured obviously, but I think it was potentially the biggest blessing in disguise for my career,” Sock told atptour.com.

“So to be able to take those months and get a new mentality, enjoy playing the sport again and get excited about playing and come back out, I’ll be ready to fire.” 

Even though Sock is making his return to action this week in singles and doubles, the American admits that it will take a while for the thumb to loosen up, “It’s still a little stiff,” Sock said.

“I was hoping to maybe start a little bit earlier than this and maybe have played a couple tournaments leading into the US Open Series, but you don’t realise how much you need your thumb in daily life and in tennis and how I hold it, the forehand was the last thing I was able to do.”

Now the two-time doubles grand slam champion is feeling refreshed and is looking forward to the challenge of being the underdog, “Overall I feel very refreshed. I’m excited to play again, which I haven’t been able to say that in a long time,” he explained.

“I’m definitely excited to get out there and compete again. I’m just going to go play tennis for the first time in a while. I’m just going to go be happy on the court and enjoy playing and I’ll be the underdog now, which will be nice.

“I’ll be the ranking underdog and be able to go out and play free and have a smile on my face. If I win, amazing. If I don’t win, I’m out there playing again. It’s not going to bother me.”

The 26 year-old is now 180 in the world in singles as he looks to reclaim some of the form that got him to the ATP World Tour Finals in 2017 and 2018 in doubles.

It will be a testing first round for Sock as he plays talented Serbian and Antalya finalist Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round at 7pm local time on Tuesday evening.

 

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Rudolf Molleker knocks out two-time champion Leonardo Mayer in Hamburg

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German 18-year-old Next Gen player Rudolf Molleker knocked out 2014 and 2017 Hamburg champion Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes at the Hamburg European Open.

 

Molleker beat Mayer in 2017 in the Hamburg qualifying round, but Mayer got a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser and went on to win the title.

Molleker fended off all three break points in two consecutive games of the first set, before saving two set points in the tie-break. He sealed the second set with a single break.

The German teenager saved two break points in the seventh game with two service games with two service winners and one more chance in the ninth game to set up a tie-break. Mayer took the lead twice at 6-5 and 8-7, but Molleker saved both chances with two winners and sealed the tie-break on the 18th point after a double fault from Mayer.

Molleker earned an early break at the start of the second set and held his service games in the next games before sealing the win with a service winner at 5-4 to secure his spot in the round of 16.

Marton Fucsovics cruised past Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-0 dropping just 16 points on serve. Fucsovics got an early break in the fourth game to clinch the opening set 6-3. The Hungarian player broke three times in a one-sided second set and sealed the win with a service winner.

Andrey Rublev, who lost in the second round at Wimbledon and Umag, edged this year’s Munich and Houston champion Christian Garin 6-4 7-6 (7-5) after 1 hour and 39 minutes to score his second win over the Chilean player this year. Rublev broke three times to seal the opening set 6-4. The Russian player got the break back at 4-5 in the second set to set up a tie-break, which he sealed 7-5.

Jeremy Chardy came back from losing the first set to beat Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-3 after 2 hours and 34 minutes. Paire fended off a set point at 4-5 in the opening set to clinch the tie-break 7-4. Paire got a late break in the second set, but Chardy won two games at 5-5 to force the match to the third set. Chardy went up a double break to seal the third set 6-3.

Martin Klizan converted all five break points to cruise past Daniel Altmaier 6-2 6-2.

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