Gabriela Sabatini Hits Back At Critics Of Women’s Tennis - UBITENNIS
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Gabriela Sabatini Hits Back At Critics Of Women’s Tennis

The 49-year-old former grand slam champion shares her opinion about the WTA Tour.

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Gabriela Sabatini pictured at the 2019 ITF Awards (Credit ITF/Paul Zimmer)

Former US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini believes there are more positives than negatives when it comes to players lacking consistency on the women’s tour.

 

Sabatini, who is a former world No.3, was questioned about the current state of the WTA Tour by media at the French Open. In this year’s tournament, only four top 20 players have managed to make to the quarter-finals. The highest ranked of which is defending champion Simona Halep. Halep is bidding to become the first player since Justine Henin (2005-2007) to win consecutive titles in the Paris capital.

“I don’t see it that way. I think you see a lot of — you know, the level of tennis on women’s is very good these days.” Said Sabatini. “I see so many new athletes coming out. Physically, they are much stronger. And I see some of them that I really like the way they play, and their charisma.”

So far in 2019, there has been 22 different winners on the WTA Tour. Out of that group, only four players have managed to win multiple titles. Kiki Bertens, Karolina Pliskova, Petra Kvitova and Dayana Yastremska each have two trophies. It is a similar trend on the men’s tour too with 23 different winners and five of those winning multiple titles. There is yet to be as a player – man or woman – to win three titles in 2019.

Whilst there are similarities between the two tours, inconsistency is still more commonly associated with the women. Partly due to the dominance of the ‘Big Four’ in the men’s game. Nevertheless, Sabatini believes it is a good situation to be in.

“That could also be positive, that you don’t have the same players winning all the time.” She said.
“I see a lot of new players that I don’t know and that I haven’t seen before and that I’m surprised the way they play, which is, I think is good to have more competition.’
“You still see Halep being up there. Some of them, okay, they did well in one year and another year not so much. They come and go.”

One player who has caught the eye of the Argentinian is Ash Barty. The Australian is currently experiencing her best ever run at the French Open. Dropping one set in four matches played. She will play Madison Keys in the last eight on Wednesday.

“I saw her in Miami. I really like the way she plays. Her slice, backhand slice, I like very much. I think she’s a very strategic player.” She said of Barty.
“That’s the one (player) that I like the most these days as far as her game.”

On Tuesday Sabatini was presented with the Philippe Chatrier Award. Named after the former president of the International Tennis Federation, the honour recognizes individuals or organisations who have made a significant contribution to tennis. Both on and off the court. Stefan Edberg, Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe, Margaret Court and Gustavo Kuerten have all previously received the award.

“The ITF Board of Directors are delighted to award the ITF’s highest accolade to Gabriela, a great champion and inspirational role model who has given so much to the sport through her contributions to many organizations for the benefit of young people and aspiring tennis players around the world,” ITF President David Haggerty said in a press release.

Sabatini won 27 singles and 14 doubles titles during her career. She retired from the sport in 1996.

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Jannick Sinner saves two match points to reach the third round at the US Open qualifying round

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Italian 18-year-old rising star Jannick Sinner came back from one set down to beat Croatia’s Viktor Galovic 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 after two hours and 49 minutes advancing to the third round of the US Open qualifying round.

 

Galovic went up an early break in the first game and held his serve until the 10th game, when Sinner earned two break-back points. Golovic held his serve to win the first set 6-4.

Sinner wasted a break point in the fourth game, but he broke serve in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead. Galovic broke back, when Sinner was serving for the set. Galovic saved two set points at 6-5 forcing the second set to the tie-break, where Sinner cruised through to winning the second set 7-2.

Galovic went up a break in the fourth game to build up a 4-1 lead.

Sinner saved two two match points at 2-5 on his serve before winning five consecutive games to win the third set 7-5. Galovic dropped his serve, when he was serving for the match. Sinner broke again in the 11th game, but he had to save two break-back points, as he was serving for the match.

Sinner won his first match on the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome beating Steve Johnson in three sets and is currently ranked world number 131.

The player from SudTyrol will play against Spain’s Mario Vilella Martinez for a spot in the main draw.

Martinez fought back from losing the first set to beat Akira Santillan 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2.

 Jiri Vesely overcame Jason Jung 6-4 5-7 7-5 setting up a match against Paolo Lorenzi for a spot in the main draw. Lorenzi beat Enzo Couacaud 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.

Guillermo Garcia Lopez cruised past Noah Rubin 6-1 7-6 (7-3) securing his spot in the third round where he will face Constant Lestienne, who swept aside Paolo Lorenzi 6-3 6-0.

 

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Dominic Thiem Downplays US Open Chances

The world No.4 has given a frank assessment about his hopes at the New York major shortly after the draw was made on Thursday.

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Dominic Thiem may be a top four seed in next week’s US Open, but the Austrian has played down the prospect of him winning his first grand slam title at the event.

 

The 25-year-old has experienced a setback in his build up to the tournament. Since winning the Kitzbuhel Open on clay, Thiem has only managed to play three matches on a hard court. Reaching the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in what what was his best-ever run at the tournament. However, more recently Thiem has been sidelined from action due to a virus and pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters.

Thiem’s first round opponent at the US Open will be Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano, who has suffered two consecutive first round losses on the tour. Fabbiano reached the third round in New York back in 2017, but has missed the two most recent editions.

“Without a doubt, there are much tougher rivals than Thomas Fabbiano in a first round, although I must say that, after overcoming this viral disease, I do not expect miracles.” Thiem told Sky Sport Austria on Thursday.

Heading into the event, Thiem has said he has set out no goal. He will be defending 360 ranking points after reaching the quarter-finals 12 months ago before losing in a five-set thriller to Rafael Nadal. Overall, Thiem’s win-loss at the US Open is 15-5 heading into this year.

“Right now I do not consider reaching a quarterfinals or a semifinal. I want to go round to round, looking beyond would be presumptuous.” He said.
“In the next few days I will keep my training to a minimum, the goal is to be in perfect shape on Monday.”

Despite his recent setbacks, 2019 has been a season of success for the world No.4. In March he won the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. He would then go on to win trophies in Barcelona and Kitzhbuel. However, in the grand slams he has been less consistent. At the French Open Thiem reached the final, but has failed to win back-to-back matches at both the Australian Open (second round) and Wimbledon (first round). Although at the Australian Open he was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to illness.

The US Open will get underway on Monday.

Dominic Thiem at the US Open

2018
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Quarter-Finals 1
Rafael Nadal ESP
L 60 46 57 764 675
Round of 16 5
Kevin Anderson RSA
W 75 62 762
Round of 32 74
Taylor Fritz USA
W 36 63 765 64
Round of 64 31
Steve Johnson USA
W 675 63 57 64 61
Round of 128 81
Mirza Basic BIH
W 63 61 64
2017
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 28
Juan Martin del Potro ARG
L 61 62 16 671 46
Round of 32 34
Adrian Mannarino FRA
W 75 63 64
Round of 64 108
Taylor Fritz USA
W 64 64 46 75
Round of 128 186
Alex de Minaur AUS
W 64 61 61
2016
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 142
Juan Martin del Potro ARG
L 36 23 (RET)
Round of 32 39
Pablo Carreno Busta ESP
W 16 64 64 75
Round of 64 89
Ricardas Berankis LTU
W 64 63 62
Round of 128 66
John Millman AUS
W 63 26 57 64 63
2015
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 32 14
Kevin Anderson RSA
L 36 673 673
Round of 64 70
Denis Istomin UZB
W 64 64 10 (RET)
Round of 128 76
Daniel Gimeno-Traver ESP
W 75 63 75
2014
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 7
Tomas Berdych CZE
L 16 26 46
Round of 32 21
Feliciano Lopez ESP
W 64 62 63
Round of 64 12
Ernests Gulbis LTA
W 46 36 64 63 63
Round of 128 84
Lukas Lacko SLO
W 63 63 62

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Chris Evert On Why Coco Gauff Winning The US Open May Not Be A Good Thing

The former world No.1 speaks out about the teenage tennis prodigy.

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Cori Gauff - Wimbledon 2019 (photo via Twitter, @Wimbledon)

At next week’s US Open, one of the talking points of the women’s draw will be rising star Coco Gauff who will be making her main draw debut at Flushing Meadows.

 

The 15-year-old tennis prodigy grabbed the attention of many during the Wimbledon Championships. It was at the event where she became the youngest player in the Open Era to successfully qualify. Then she stunned former world No.1 Venus Williams, Magdalena Rybarikova and Polona Hercog en route to the fourth round. Where she lost to eventual champion Simona Halep.

Gauff’s rapid rise in the sport has caught the attention of both her rivals and sponsors. She already has deals with Barilla and New Balance. Amounting to an estimated $1 million, according to Forbes Magazine. Those brands will be hoping for the teenager to make another deep run at the final grand slam of the season. However, one former champion has warned against any potential success.

18-time grand slam champion Chris Evert is concerned that too much is happening to Gauff at a young age. Going as far as saying that success at the major event could be counterproductive. Gauff is currently ranked 141st in the world and is the youngest player in the top 500.

“I don’t know if it’d be necessarily great for her to win the Open.” Evert said during an interview with The New York Post.
“If she continues to play the way she is, have some big wins, still develop her game and be a normal 15-year-old with some semblance of privacy, then that’d be the most successful picture of her.’
“There’s no doubt there is Grand Slam potential in her, after watching her at Wimbledon. But I am very cautious because she is so young and so many things can happen between 15 and 20 (years old), mentally, physically, emotionally.”

Evert was 19 when she won her first major title at the 1974 French Open. In total she contested 34 grand slam finals over a 15-year period.

Earlier this week Gauff made an appearance at the Winston-Salem Open. A men’s tournament that is categorised as an ATP 250 event. She took to the court to play an exhibition match against world No.2 Ash Barty. Gauff edged out the reigning French Open champion 6-4, 2-6, [10-8].

“It was super fun. It’s different to kinda play in an atmosphere like that and not be in a tournament. It was cool to play with Ash and hopefully we can do it again sometime,” Gauff told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’m kind of sad to leave [Winston-Salem] because New York is busy but it was good to get the calm before the storm.”

Gauff will take on Russian world No.76 Anastasia Potapova in the first round of the US Open. There is a chance that she could play defending champion Naomi Osaka in the tournament if they both reach the third round.

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