Stan Wawrinka Edges Tsitsipas In French Open Classic - UBITENNIS
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Stan Wawrinka Edges Tsitsipas In French Open Classic

Wawrinka set up a quarter-final clash with Federer by outlasting Tsitsipas in a titanic five-set encounter that lasted over five hours.

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Stan Wawrinka (@rolandgarros on Twitter)

Stan Wawrinka battled to a 7-6(6) 5-7 6-4 3-6 8-6 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in a five-hour epic in the fourth round of the French Open.

 

The Swiss, 34, had to draw on every ounce of determination and energy in his body to get the better of his talented young foe, who impressed everyone watching with his superb shot-making abilities.

And there will be a lot resting on the World No.28’s recovery if he is going to continue his bid for a second title at Roland Garros. His quarter-final opponent will be friend and compatriot Roger Federer, who will be feeling fresh after he breezed past Leonardo Mayer in straight sets.

In the first set, Wawrinka and Tsitsipas virtually matched each other stroke for stroke. Their serving percentages were very high and very similar, their winners (11) and unforced errors (12) tallies were identical and there was only one break point in the entire set.

Consequently, the set was dominated by the respective server throughout. The inevitable tie-break followed the same pattern, and there was nothing between the players until the Greek gifted the set to the Swiss with a double fault when he was 6-7 behind.

Tsitsipas wins thrilling second set

Stefanos Tsitsipas (@rolandgarros on Twitter)

While the match did not really catch light in the opener, that soon changed in the second set. Tsitsipas adopted a more aggressive approach. He went for his shots more from the baseline and came into the net whenever possible.

For the first three games, it worked superbly as he held twice and wore Wawrinka down in between to earn a break and establish a 3-0 lead.

However, the Swiss player responded superbly. He battled to a hold in game four. Then he fashioned a break point opportunity and seized it with a brilliant cross-court backhand pass.

There was a brief lull in the drama as both players held comfortably. But then it all kicked off again in game eight as a fired-up Tsitsipas produced some great shots to earn his second break of the set.

After Wawrinka raised his level to break back immediately, the Greek did not react well. He smashed three water bottles and received a code violation warning from the umpire.

That release of frustration almost enabled Tsitsipas to break the Swiss in game ten, but the three-time Grand Slam champion saved four break points and clung on to make it 5-5.

As it turned out, that hold only delayed the outcome that had seemed likely for a while, as the World No.6 broke Wawrinka in game twelve to level the match at one-set-all.

Wawrinka responds like the champion he is

The 24th seed realised he needed to improve in the third set. He started that process by serving better than he had in the second set and continued it by putting pressure on Tsitsipas’ serve.

Consequently, Wawrinka almost broke in game three and game five. However, while the Greek survived on both those occasions, he could not do anything in game seven.

First, the Swiss player hit a brilliant backhand winner that landed right on the sideline. Then, at 15-30, he unleashed a powerful forehand winner that bounced just inside the same line. And finally, when he was faced with two break points against, Tsitsipas missed a backhand.

After another comfortable hold, Wawrinka forced break points on the Greek’s serve for the fourth time in succession. And for the third time in four tries, Tsitsipas clung onto his serve.

This only delayed the inevitable, as the Swiss remained rock-solid on his serve to close out the third set.

Tsitsipas forces a decider but Wawrinka wins it

Stan Wawrinka and Stefanos Tsitsipas (@rolandgarros on Twitter)

Tsitsipas made a great start to the fourth set. He broke Wawrinka in game two and saved a break point in game three to forge a 3-0 lead.

The World No.28 steadied himself to hold and then broke back in game five. However, the Greek applied a lot of pressure in the next game and Wawrinka faltered to enable him to break again.

That virtually finished the set, as the Swiss made no impression in Tsitsipas’ next two service games. The World No.6 held twice to clinch the set 6-3 and take the match into a decider.

For the first ten games, the decider was a mostly cagey affair as neither player took too many risks when their opponent was serving. The exceptions to this were games one and five when Wawrinka saved break points.

And, when the set came to life in game eleven, the Swiss found himself in trouble on serve again. Tsitsipas earned three separate break point chances. However, he squandered them all and the set continued.

After two comfortable holds of serve, Wawrinka led 7-6. That enabled him to swing freely on the Greek’s serve, which is exactly what he did.

He hit a succession of powerful cross-court shots which led to errors from Ttitsipas and a 15-40 scoreline. Then he knifed a superb backhand just beyond the grasp of the World No.6 to seize his first match point.

Grand Slam

Only Double Vaccinated Players Will Be Allowed To Play Australian Open – Government Minister

Players will not be exempt from a ‘universal application’ applied to those wishing to travel to the country.

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A high ranking official from the Australian government has confirmed for the first time that players will not be allowed to enter the country next year if they have not been double vaccinated against COVID-19.

 

Immigration minister Alex Hawke has stated that there will be no exemptions in force for tennis players hoping to play in the Australian Open amid recent speculation. According to Andrey Rublev, he had been told that unvaccinated players could be allowed to play but will have to enter into a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. However, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday that it was unlikely visas would be issued to those who are unvaccinated.

Trying to clarify the current situation, Hawke has told ABC radio that all entrants into the country will be required to be vaccinated regardless of who they are. His comments come before Tennis Australia has made any official announcement regarding the tournament and it’s entry requirements.

“The government in establishing its borders has said that you’ll need to be double vaccinated to visit Australia. That’s a universal application, not just to tennis players. I mean that every visitor to Australia will need to be double vaccinated,” Hawke said on ABC radio.

The move raises further questions about the prospect of Novak Djokovic being able to attend the Australian Open. The 20-time Grand Slam champion recently said he doesn’t want to reveal his vaccination status to the public. In the past he said he was against the idea of being forced to have a vaccination but rejects allegations that he is an anti-vaxxer.

“I don’t have a message to Novak. I have a message to everybody that wishes to visit Australia. He’ll need to be double vaccinated,” Hawke later added.

Unlike other sports, tennis’ governing bodies have not issued any public statements outlining the vaccination rates among players on their Tour’s. Reuters news agency estimates the vaccination rate is 65% for the ATP and 60% for the WTA based on recent media reports. However, The Age newspaper reports those who are double vaccinated are below half with 35% for the ATP and 40% for the WTA.

As for the suggestion that players who had already contracted COVID-19 should be allowed into the country regardless of their vaccine status, the president of the Victorian Australian Medical Association has dismissed the idea.

“I understand he [Djokovic] had it [coronavirus] but, believe it or not, the immunity from the vaccination is better than the immunity from catching the disease,” Dr Roderick McRae told The Age.
“I think there is an element of standards [here]. It’s important our leaders make these decisions in our interests and it [banning unvaccinated travellers] demonstrates to the community just how important we take this.”

The Australian Open will begin on January 17th. Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are the reigning champions.

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Grand Slam

Victorian Premier: Unvaccinated Players Likely To Be Refused Visas To Play Australian Open

The government official has issued a warning ahead of the Grand Slam but one player say they have been told something different…

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photo by atpworldtour.com

The head of the Victorian Government has said there is a good chance that any player who is unvaccinated will be refused entry into Australia next year and be excluded from the Australian Open.

 

Daniel Andrews has insisted that no deals will be cut with the players where they could receive special treatment in order for them to enter the region. Recently local officials implemented a health mandate in Victoria requiring essential workers to be vaccinated, including professional athletes. The move has prompted speculation over the implications that will have on the upcoming Australian Open which will get underway in January.

Andrews, who has been the Premier of Victoria since 2014, will not be the person who has the final say as to if unvaccinated players will be allowed to enter the country. That will be decided by the national government. However, in a press conference on Tuesday he cast serious doubt over their chances.

“I don’t think an unvaccinated tennis player is going to get a visa to come into this country,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“If they did get a visa, they’d probably have to quarantine for a couple of weeks when no other players will have to.
“AFL players have to be vaccinated, but they’re Aussies, they’re not coming from other countries.
“I don’t think any other tennis player, or golfer, or Formula One driver, will even get a visa to get here.
“Professional sport is part of that authorised worker list and they have to be double dose vaccinated.”

The warning comes less than 24 hours after Blic newspaper published an interview with world No.1 Novak Djokovic who admits he is unsure about playing at the tennis major. Djokovic declined to reveal his vaccination status and has accused the media of causing a divide between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. He has won the Australian Open men‘s title a record nine times.

“I won’t disclose whether I am vaccinated or not. It is a private matter, I think it is inappropriate to ask a person that. Too many people allow themselves the freedom to ask and then to judge. Whatever you say – I have, I have not, maybe, I do not know or I am thinking about it – they will use it against you,” he said.

Tennis Australia has not commented on Andrews’ statement and it is unclear as to when a final decision will be made. Although Djokovic believes a final decision could come in two weeks time.

Meanwhile, Andrey Rublev has contradicted what Andrews has said during a press conference in Moscow. Speaking to reporters the Russian says it is his understanding that unvaccinated players will be allowed to play the Australian Open but they will be forced to enter into a 14-day quarantine. Meaning they will miss tournaments such as the ATP Cup leading up to the Grand Slam.

“If athletes do not want to stay in quarantine for two weeks, then they must be vaccinated. As far as I know, Australians recognize many vaccines. If you do not get vaccinated, then you will not be able to leave the room for two weeks. Then you won’t be able to play either the ATP Cup or the tournaments before the Australian Open.” Said Rublev.

Besides the players, local fans attending the Australian Open could also be refused entry if they are unvaccinated and their freedoms won’t be relaxed until ‘well into 2022.’ Andrews said he doubts crowds at the Australian Grand Prix, which takes place three months after the Melbourne major, will not include those are are not double jabbed.

“Why would you get the system going, have the thing up and running and then essentially pull down all of the architecture that you’ve built, the culture that you’ve changed – why would you change that four or five weeks later?” He said.
“For example, the Grand Prix is in April, I don’t think there will be crowds at the Grand Prix made up of people who have not been double dosed.”

The Australian Open is set to get underway on January 17th.

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Grand Slam Matches Among 38 Suspicious Betting Alerts Over Past Three Months

The body is charge of monitoring match-fixing in the sport has issued their latest findings.

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The International Tennis Integrity Agency has confirmed they have received ‘match alerts’ concerning a quartet of matches which took place at Grand Slam tournaments during the third quarter of 2021.

 

Two matches played at Wimbledon and a further two which took place at the US Open were flagged up, according to their quarterly report which was public on Tuesday. The names of the individuals involved in those matches are not made public whilst the ITIA investigate the matter. The alerts are received through their confidential Memoranda of Understanding with the regulated betting industry.

A total of 38 betting alerts were issued to the ITIA during the third quarter with the most coming from matches played on the Challenger Tour (13). There were also nine suspicious matches from ITF $25,000 tournaments on the men’s Tour and another seven linked to $15,000 events. To put that into context the women’s ITF Tour reported a total of three overall.

“It is important to note that an alert on its own is not evidence of match fixing,” the ITIA stated in their report.
“Unusual betting patterns can occur for many reasons other than match fixing – for example incorrect odds-setting; well-informed betting; player fitness, fatigue or form; playing conditions and personal circumstances.”

Five players have been sanctioned within the past three months for match-fixing offences with the most high-profile being Temur Ismailov from Uzbekistan. Ismailov, who reached a ranking high of 397th in 2016, was issued with a life ban after being found guilty of offences in addition to another suspension he was already serving.

The ITIA has also provisionally suspended six Moroccans and one Pervian player in connection with possible violations of anti-corruption rules.

The ITIA was created by the international governing bodies to investigate allegations against players and hand out sanctions. It is currently in the process of merging with the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) and will oversee the global administration of the TADP from January 1st if it receives Board approval.

Number of alerts (third quarter of 2021 only)

  • Wimbledon: 2
  • US Open: 2
  • ATP Challenger: 13
  • ATP World Tour: 250 1
  • Davis Cup: 1
  • M25 Men’s – World Tennis Tour: 9
  • M15 Men’s – World Tennis Tour: 7
  • W15 Women’s – World Tennis Tour: 2
  • W80 Women’s – World Tennis Tour: 1

TOTAL: 38

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