Ashleigh Barty, Serena And Kerber Face Nightmare Draw At Wimbledon - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam

Ashleigh Barty, Serena And Kerber Face Nightmare Draw At Wimbledon

Ashleigh Barty, Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber face a tough time at Wimbledon after they were all drawn in the same quarter.

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Ashleigh Barty (@rolandgarros on Twitter)

Most of the top seeds in the Ladies’ Singles had a disastrous time at Wimbledon in 2018. Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep all lost early on, and they were far from the only big stars who fell to unheralded opponents.

 

So is the same kind of carnage going to happen again this year? Hopefully not to the same extent, but you never know with the women’s tour because it is so competitive at the moment.

Likely Wimbledon Winners

Defending champion Angelique Kerber is on fire in Eastbourne this week. She is yet to drop a set and she took down Simona Halep with a brilliant performance in the quarter-final.

On the strength of those displays, and her past record on grass, the German should be regarded as the best player on grass and the favourite to win Wimbledon. However, she does have a very tough draw to contend with.

Karolina is also in brilliant form. She is storming through the draw at the Nature Valley International and looks imperious on grass at the moment.

Before 2018, the Czech had never made it past the second round at Wimbledon. Last year, she finally broke that streak by reaching the fourth round, and it seems very likely that this time she will go even further.

Considering how well she is playing, Pliskova can definitely win Wimbledon this year. She has a favourable draw, and a potential third-round meeting with the mercurial Jelena Ostapenko could prove to be the biggest obstacle she faces before the semi-final.

Barty may suffer early exit from the quarter of death

Angelique Kerber (@BBCSport on Twitter)

You may be wondering why you did not see new World No.1 Ashleigh Barty in the previous section. She will be flying high after lifting her first Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros and then immediately following it with a Premier title in Birmingham.

However, the Australian faces probably the most difficult draw imaginable. She is seeded to meet 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza in the third round, Belinda Bencic or Donna Vekic in the fourth round, and then Kerber in the quarter-final. If she somehow gets through that minefield, anything is possible.

As it that quarter did not sound loaded enough already, it also features Serena Williams, Julia Goerges and Maria Sharapova. The 23-time Grand Slam champion is in poor form and short of match practice. Therefore, she will probably lose in the third round to Birmingham finalist Goerges. Sharapova will almost certainly lose to Kerber at the same stage – if she gets that far.

Osaka, Svitolina and Stephens also look vulnerable to upsets

Naomi Osaka (@OmnisportNews on Twitter)

The rest of the draw are probably delighted to see that medley of grass court specialists thrown in together. However, that does not mean there will not be any other shocks.

Ninth seed Sloane Stephens really struggles on grass. She could theoretically lose at any time. One thing is certain: she will be very worried about a potential third-round meeting with Johanna Konta.

Eighth seed Elina Svitolina still does not look comfortable on grass. Furthermore, she is yet to reach peak match fitness after her knee injury, so she will probably lose to either Margarita Gasparyan in the second round or Maria Sakkari in the third round.

No.2 seed Naomi Osaka also looks all at sea on the lawns, so she could lose at any time. Her first match will be against Yulia Putintseva, the player who beat her in Birmingham.

The Japanese player may also succumb to Dayana Yastremska, Camila Giorgi or Mallorca champion Sofia Kenin in the third round. If she makes it past that stage, she could fall to Caroline Garcia or Caroline Wozniacki in the last 16.

Two other seeded players could be particularly vulnerable at Wimbledon. French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova has only won four of the 11 matches she has played on grass since turning professional. Therefore, she  could lose to Madison Brengle, Anett Kontaveit or Heather Watson.

Meanwhile, Elise Mertens has also struggled on the lawns in the past, so she could be knocked out by Andrea Petkovic or Monica Niculescu in the second round.

Who else could win Wimbledon?

Madison Keys (@VolvoCarOpen on Twitter)

While the favourites are easier to identify than last year, there is a long list of other potential winners.

If Barty or Serena emerge from the quarter of death, they could win. If Osaka finds her feet on grass, she could take home the title. And if Petra Kvitova is fit enough to play and gets through the early rounds, she could claim a third Wimbledon crown.

Then there are several players who are definitely capable of winning the title but will need to step up at crucial times.

Madison Keys is a superb grass-court player. However, she may not be fully fit and she will probably have to beat Aryna Sabalenka and Simona Halep to reach the last eight. Halep finds grass the most challenging surface but she will have a chance if she can get past Keys.

The draw has been kind to Johanna Konta, particularly if Kvitova withdraws, so she could go a long way if she can handle the weight of expectation from the home crowd.

Then there are four other players in the quarter of death – Muguruza, Bencic, Vekic and Goerges – who could go on to great things if they survive. There are also two big-hitters elsewhere in the draw who can beat anyone on their day: Sabalenka and Ostapenko.

[Also published on womenssporthub.com]

Grand Slam

Carlos Ramos Won’t Umpire Serena Williams’ US Open Matches Following Infamous Clash

They two will be kept apart, but will it be enough to stop people talking about their previous confrontation?

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23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos will be kept apart during the US Open following their high-profile spat at the tournament 12 months ago.

 

During the final of the US Open last year, controversy erupted when Ramos issued Williams with a violation for receiving coaching from the stands. Something which is prohibited in grand slam tennis. A livid Williams denied any wrongdoing immediately after. Suggesting the decision was sexist before calling the official a ‘liar’ and a ‘thief.’ In total, Williams was hit with three violations that resulted in a game penalty.

Stacy Allaster, who is the president of the USTA, has confirmed that Ramos will not be allowed to officiate Williams or her sister’s Venus’ matches during the grand slam. Saying that she didn’t want to cause a ‘distraction.’ This decision is said to be applied only to the 2019 tournament.

“We don’t need to go there,” Allaster told The New York Times in a telephone interview. “There are more than 900 matches here over the three weeks, and there are lots of matches for Carlos to do.”
“We want to be focused on the competition and want to go forward,” she added.

Ramos, who is from Portugal, was never found guilty of doing anything wrong during the match. The International Tennis Federation issued a statement shortly after the incident. In it, they said that Ramos ‘undertook his duties as an official, according to the relevant rule book and acted at all times with professionalism and integrity.’

Regardless of the move by the USTA to try and stay clear of the Williams-Ramos incident, it is set to be thrown back into the media spotlight in the coming days. Sports network ESPN will air a documentary called “Serena vs. The Umpire” on Sunday for the first time. It will be narrated by Pulitzer Prize winner Don Van Natta, Jr.

“We’re exploring stories that are unresolved and have layers to them, and that’s certainly the case with what happened at last year’s US Open women’s final,” said John Dahl, Vice President and Executive Producer, ESPN Special Projects and Original Content. “With this and subsequent stories, viewers will follow along with Don on his deep dive for truth.”

The TV program is set to include Patrick Mouratoglou, who is the coach of Williams. Pam Shriver and Chris Evert are also set to feature.

The US Open will get underway on August 26th.

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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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