Carnage In Washington As Top Seeds Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys Crash Out - UBITENNIS
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Carnage In Washington As Top Seeds Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys Crash Out

It was a day to forget for two of America’s highest ranked women on Tuesday.

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Sloane Stephens - Madrid 2019 (foto via Twitter, @WTA)

Hopes of a home player winning the Citi Open on Tuesday took a huge blow after the top two American players suffered shock losses in their opening matches.

 

Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens slumped to a 6-2, 7-5, loss to the Swedish world No.70 Rebecca Peterson. In total Stephens dropped her serve five times and failed to convert four out of her six break point opportunities. She has now lost her opening match in three out of the past five tournaments.

“I thought I could’ve played better,” Stephens said. “Obviously, it was hot. Tough conditions. But from here, only thing you can do is improve.”

Since winning the Citi Open back in 2015, Stephens has experienced a series of poor results at the tournament. She has now lost in the first round of Washington in three out of her past four appearances. The only exception was last year when she reached the second round. Despite those results, Stephens is keeping upbeat about her chances over the coming weeks heading into the US Open.

“I’ve tried to have a good attitude and let the chips fall where they may going forward,” the 26-year-old explained.
“We’re starting fresh. We’ve done pretty well. I need to have fun and enjoy what I’m doing.”

Peterson, who is yet to win a WTA title, has recorded her first ever win over a top 10 player on her ninth attempt. She will next play Italy’s Camila Giorgi for the chance to reach her second WTA quarter-final of the season after Rabat.

“I’m just really happy with the win and the way I just stick to every point, fought for every point that was out there,” Peterson told wtatennis.com.
“I was not thinking too far ahead or back – I was just staying in the moment and trying my best in every point.”

Another casualty on Tuesday was Madison Keys, who has now only won back-to-back matches in one out of her past five tournaments. The former grand slam finalist suffered a 7-6(4), 6-2, loss to Hailey Baptiste. A 17-year-old local wildcard who recorded her first ever main draw win on the tour. Keys called for a trainer twice during the second set due to a muscle spasm in her back.

“It felt really good,” world No.283 Baptiste said following her win. “Half of the match, I couldn’t really feel my legs. I don’t know, like, I really can’t describe what it felt like, but it was amazing. Having everybody in the crowd cheering for me, I knew every other person in the crowd, it felt really good.”
“I think my mind was really focused, and I didn’t let anything get to my head, and I just played my game and played within myself.”

Heading into the second round of the tournament there are four seeded players left in the draw this year. The highest of those being third seed Sofia Kenin, who is bidding to clench her third title of the season and first on American soil.

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Pre-Wimbledon Shake-Up Sees Birmingham Lose Premier Status And Mallorca Gain Men’s Tournament

Changes have been made to the grass-court season from 2020 onwards.

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A Premier grass-court women’s event have been moved to another country following changes made to the schedule of tournaments leading up to Wimbledon.

 

The Birmingham International, which is the only woman’s-only event held in the UK, has had their status reduced. Going from Premier level to international and subsequently dropping down from offering $1 million to $250,000 in prize money. The move comes after organisers of the event admitted they have found it financially tough to maintain the event and make a profit. Birmingham had held a premier status since 2014 with past winners including Ash Barty, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber.

Instead the German capital of Berlin will host a new Premier event. It will take place at the Lawn Tennis Turnier Club Rot-Weiß (LTTC), which once held the German Open between 1979-2008. A clay-court tournament that was also part of the WTA Tour. However, this time round the surface will be grass. In a statement published by the LTTC, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to be a patron for the new event and there will some redevelopment of the venue in the coming months.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the absolute world-class women’s tennis on the grounds of the LTTC “Rot-Weiß” In the coming summer from 15 to 21 June 2020! Twelve years after the last German Open, our club will live up to many expectations with this worldwide international tournament.” A press release reads.

There have also been proposals for a separate WTA tournament to take place in Germany the week after Berlin in Bad Homburg. The event would replace the Istanbul Open, however, it is still subject to approval from the WTA board.

On the ATP Tour, there has been a change to one of the events taking place during the week before Wimbledon. Mallorca will now hold a 250 tournament instead of Antalya. Raising speculation about if Rafael Nadal could play in the event in the future. Nadal hasn’t played a grass-court event outside of Wimbledon since 2015, but lives in the Balearic Island.

“A strong and successful grass court season is absolutely critical to the future of grass court tennis and thus the future success of The Championships.” The chairman of the AELTC, Philip Brook, said in a statement.
“Having worked to expand the grass court season to be a meaningful gap between Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, we are pleased to be making these significant further investments into ensuring that quality grass court tournaments can be provided at all levels of the professional game for the best interests of the players and the broader tennis family.”

The 2020 grass swing of the tour will get underway during the week commencing June 8th.

Full schedule

Week 1: Nottingham (WTA International), S’Hertogenbosch (ATP 250/WTA International), Stuttgart (ATP 250)

Week 2: Berlin (WTA Premier), Birmingham (WTA International), Queen’s (ATP 500), Halle (ATP 500)

Week 3: Mallorca (ATP 250), Eastbourne (WTA Premier) – TBC: Bad Homburg (WTA International)

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French Open Finalist Marketa Vondrousova Undergoes Surgery

It is a premature end to what has been a breakthrough season for the Czech.

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Czech rising star Marketa Vondrousova will miss the rest of the season after undergoing an operation on her left wrist.

 

The 20-year-old made the announcement on her Instagram account where she uploaded a picture of herself after undergoing the procedure. Vondrousova hasn’t played a match on the tour since Wimbledon, where she first sustained the injury. According to Czech media, she received treatment at the same facility which Petra Kvitova attended following a knife attack that severely injured her playing hand.

“For two months I tried to treat my wrist conservatively and tried everything possible. Unfortunately, nothing led to a significant improvement. That is why I decided on this solution, which should relieve me of my pain for good,” Vondrousova said is a statement issued by her team.
“Unfortunately for me, 2019 ended earlier than I wanted. I can’t wait to play back on the courts without pain anymore, she added.

The premature end draws the curtain on what has been a breakthrough season for Vondrousova. At the French Open she defeated Petra Martic and Johanna Konta en route to the final. Becoming the youngest player to do so at the tournament since Ana Ivanovic back in 2007. She was denied the title by Ash Barty, who prevailed in straight sets.

Yet to win a title, Vondrousova has managed to remain consistent on the tour by reaching the quarter-finals or better at six consecutive tournaments between February and June. Including the final of the Budapest Open. During that time, she managed to score two wins over Simona Halep. The highest ranked player she has defeated so far in her career.

Vondrousova is currently ranked 22nd in the world. She ends the season with a win-loss record of 29-9.

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Jamie Murray Wants More Funding For Scottish Tennis Ahead Of Challenger Event

Jamie Murray wants more funding for Scottish Tennis after admitting disappointing response from the LTA.

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Jamie Murray (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Jamie Murray has spoken out on his frustration at the LTA for not giving Scottish enough funding ahead of the Glasgow Challenger event. 

 

The seven-time grand slam champion is getting ready for the Murray Trophy in Glasgow which begins this week where he will be competing.

However one of the concerns right now is the lack of funding it is receiving despite the success of the Murray brothers, who have won a combined ten grand slams between them.

Ahead of the event in Glasgow, the doubles specialist think more can be done to capitalise on their success, “I think so. Certainly from what we’ve achieved over the last however many years, going back to our junior days of playing,” Murray said to STV News.

“If you think about the Scottish players that have represented us in Davis Cup and won ties, I would say they do (deserve more funding), We’re a country after all, not a county.

“Things could have been better over the last ten years to make the most of what Andy has been achieving. Up here Tennis Scotland are doing their best to take things forward. We haven’t always had the best deal from the money that the LTA gets to hand out to Tennis Scotland.”

It’s certainly an issue that has been raging on for the last few years that both Andy and Jamie Murray have been very passionate about.

But only time will tell whether the Lawn Tennis Association listen to the concerns of the two men have been responsible for Great Britain’s recent tennis success.

As for Murray he will be partnering John-Patrick Smith in the event, which is taking place this week and is looking to continue his momentum after winning the US Open mixed doubles title.

Now for the Brit, his main goal is to win Wimbledon as he looks to achieve more doubles success, “It’s been exciting for me in the last few years to go to these level of tournaments and feel you’ve got a genuine chance to win,” Murray admitted.

“For me, Wimbledon would be the biggest goal until the end of my career, to win the men’s doubles. It didn’t work out for me this year but next year. There’s always next year.”

 

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