Elina Svitolina Vanquishes Keys To Earn First US Open Quarter-Final - UBITENNIS
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Elina Svitolina Vanquishes Keys To Earn First US Open Quarter-Final

Elina Svitolina earns revenge for her 2017 loss to Madison Keys at the US Open by beating her in straight sets in 2019.

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Elina Svitolina (@usopen on Twitter)

Elina Svitolina produced an impressive all-round display to beat Cincinnati champion Madison Keys 7-5 6-4 and reach her first US Open quarter-final.

 

The Ukrainian, 24, lost to the American in New York at the same stage two years ago, but she has clearly figured out how to beat her since then.

Svitolina beat Keys in three sets at the Australian Open earlier this year, and she is understandably delighted to have beaten her even more convincingly this time around.

“It was really good serving from me tonight,” the Ukrainian said. “I was feeling really good with my footwork as well. I’m very pleased that I could play very consistently.”

Svitolina outplays Keys in the first set

Svitolina won the first set because she was smarter and steadier than Keys. She won 91% of points on her first serve and only made six unforced errors.

This reliability meant that she did not face a single break point and could apply pressure when the American served.

That pressure was on Keys right from the start, as the Ukrainian took her to deuce in the opening game of the match.

The World No.9 also had to work for her next hold, and in game seven Svitolina produced two excellent passing shots to give her even more to think about.

Despite the difficulty she faced on serve, the American stayed in touch with the Ukrainian to keep the score level at 4-4 after eight games.

Keys then played a great game. She hammered down a series of great serves and played very aggressively on another point that she finished at the net.

However, American faltered in game eleven. She served poorly, and the Ukrainian took advantage. She dragged the World No.9 into longer rallies, drew her into a succession of errors and got the first break of the match.

Svitolina then kept her focus when she was serving for the set. She played four good, solid points and that was all she needed to clinch it 7-5. She celebrated with a determined fist clench and a steely stare.

Svitolina maintains control

Elina Svitolina (@TennisChannel on Twitter)

Unfortunately for Keys, the pattern of play did not change at the start of the second set. The World No.5 held comfortably and then made life as difficult as possible for the American in game three.

Svitolina used her defensive skills to great effect to lengthen several rallies and get the score to deuce. After earning and wasting one break point, she gained another chance with a superb cross-court backhand winner. She then secured the break when Keys made an error.

The World No.9 had a slight chance to break at 30-30 in game six. However, she failed to take advantage, and this allowed the Ukrainian to move 4-2 ahead.

To her credit, the American gathered herself and played two superb service games to force Svitolina to serve for the match at 5-4.

But Keys still did not manage to put any pressure on the Ukrainian’s serve in the final game. She made a couple more unforced errors to gift the World No.5 the final game and take her final tally to 39. Then she signed a few tennis balls as quickly as she could before rushing off court.

Svitolina prepares to face Konta next

For Svitolina, this feels like a big win. She has knocked out one of the pre-tournament favourites and must now be confident about her own chances of winning the US Open.

To do that, she will have to beat another player in top form: Johanna Konta. The Brit followed routs of Margarita Gasparyan and Zhang Shuai with only her second win in eight meetings against Karolina Pliskova to reach the last eight, and the Ukrainian is understandably wary of the threat she poses.

“It’s going to be another great battle. I’m looking forward to facing her. We’ve always had tough matches and for me it’s going to be another challenge and I will try to be out there with my best game.”

 

 

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‘Time To Accept The Situation And Fight’ – Rafael Nadal Targets French Open Despite Foot Concern

After recently returning to the Tour following a rib injury, a flare up of another issue threatens to spoil Nadal’s Paris dreams.

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Image via Roberto Dell’Olivo

Just over a week before the start of the French Open Rafael Nadal once again finds himself nursing a long-term condition that sidelined him from the Tour for months last year.

 

The 21-time Grand Slam champion looked to be in visible discomfort during parts of his clash with Denis Shapovalov in the third round of the Italian Masters on Thursday. After clinching the opening set, Nadal fell 1-6, 7-5, 6-2, to the Canadian who registered his first-ever win over a top 10 player on clay and his 10th overall. He now faces a race against time to be ready for the French Open which he has won a record 13 times.

“I am not injured. I am a player living with an injury. That’s it, it is nothing new. It’s something that is there,” Nadal told reporters in Rome.

35-year-old Nadal suffers from Mueller-Weiss syndrome, which is a degenerative disease that causes a deformity of one of the bones in the central part of the foot. Due to the condition last year he was only able to play in one tournament over a six-month period. In September that year he underwent treatment on his foot but not surgery.

“My day-by-day is difficult, honestly. Even like this, I am trying hard. Of course, it’s difficult for me to accept the situation sometimes,” the former world No.1 said of his condition. “It can be frustrating that a lot of days I can’t practice the proper way.”

The setback occurred during what was only Nadal’s second tournament since returning to action following a rib injury. At last week’s Madrid Open he reached the quarter-finals before losing to compatriot Carlos Alcaraz. Nadal’s recent misfortunes follow what has been a blistering start to the season for him. He started 2022 by winning 20 matches in a row before losing to Taylor Fritz in Indian Wells. His win-loss for the season currently stands at 23-3 with three titles won, including the Australian Open.

During his visit to Roland Garros this year Nadal will be joined by his doctor who will be keeping a close eye on his foot. As to how much the condition could hinder his campaign in the French capital, the Spaniard admits that he doesn’t know due to its unpredictability.

First thing that I need to do is to not have pain to practice, that’s it. And the negative thing is today it’s not possible for me to play. But maybe in two days things will be better, that’s the thing that I have with my foot,” he explained.

Nadal is the most successful player in French Open history with a total of 105 main draw wins. In fact, the only players to have ever beaten him at the tournament are Novak Djokovic twice and Sweden’s Robin Soderling.

“It’s time to accept the situation and fight. That’s it. Honestly, I can’t say anything more now,” Nadal continued.
“I still have a goal (to be ready for the French Open) in one week and a couple of days. I’m going to keep dreaming about that goal.”

Nadal has played just five matches on clay this season heading into the French Open.

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Players Face Sanctions If They Make Pro-Putin Statements At French Open, Warns Mauresmo

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The tournament director of the French Open admits there is ‘no fair decision’ regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian players in the Grand Slam.

 

Amelie Mauresmo, who is a former WTA No.1 player herself, confirmed that players from those countries will be allowed to play during an interview with French radio. Although they will only be allowed to play under a neutral status in line with the rules which have been adopted by other governing bodies of the sport. The action has been taken in response to Russia’s military assault on the Ukraine which began on February 24th. Belarus is suspected of supporting Russia in the conflict which has already killed thousands of people.

The stance of officials in Paris is a stark contrast to that of Wimbledon who has controversially implemented a ban on those players, as well as the LTA. Making it the first time The All England Club has excluded players due to their nationality since the World War Two Era when German and Japanese players weren’t allowed to participate. The ATP Tour is reportedly considering removing the allocation of points to the event in response to the ban.

Speaking about the issue, Mauresmo confirmed that action could be taken against any player who decides to make pro-Putin statements during the tournament. Although she didn’t elaborate on what penalties could be used if such a situation occurs.

“We have thought a lot, and I have the impression that there is no fair decision, one way or the other,” said Mauresmo. “We are in line with what European sports ministers have decided, we do not welcome teams but individual athletes. Obviously if an athlete speaks in the press for example and supports Vladimir Putin, sanctions will be taken. “

Providing an update on the upcoming tournament, Mauresmo says she is confident that this year’s tournament will have an almost full attendance. Confirming that “tickets are sold at more than 90-95%” of its capacity in what she hails as a ‘real success’ for the tournament. Last year’s edition took place with a restricted capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s French Open will begin on May 22nd. Novak Djokovic and Barbora Krejcikova are the defending champions.

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REPORT: ATP Player Representatives Backs Move To Strip Wimbledon Of Ranking Points Over Ban

It is understood that emergency meetings are taking place as momentum gathers to take an unprecedented move against the grass-court major.

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Aerial view across the grounds as spectators watch the big screen on the outside of No.1 Court in the sunshine at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 7 Monday 05/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Joe Toth

This year’s Wimbledon Championships could be entering into chaos after multiple reports suggest that there is growing support for the ATP to take a hardline approach to the tournament over their decision to ban Russian and Belarussian players.

 

According to multiple British media sources, the ATP Tour player representatives have endorsed the unprecedented move to remove all ranking points from the Grand Slam, as well as other events taking place in Britain this year. Something which has never happened in the Open Era. Supporters of the approach argue that it would create a fairer system with the players who are not allowed to participate.

Last month The All England Club and the British Lawn Tennis Association became the first organizations in the sport to ban Russian and Belarussian players over the war in Ukraine. Until then, it was agreed by tennis’ seven governing bodies that those players will be allowed to play on the Tour but only as neutral athletes and their federations have been suspended from team events. However, Wimbledon said their stance was made following recommendations from the British government, as well as taking into account other factors.

“We believe we have made the most responsible decision possible in the circumstances and that, within the framework of the government’s position, there is no viable alternative to the decision we have taken in this truly exceptional and tragic situation.” AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt recently told reporters.

Organizers did consider a proposal to let players participate but only if they signed a declaration condemning the actions of their governments but decided against doing so over safety concerns. Russia currently has strict laws in places concerning the war and thousands of people have been arrested for taking part in anti-war protests.

The bold move has prompted criticism from many leading names on the Tour. Former Wimbledon champions Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have all previously voiced their opposition.

“I think it’s very unfair (on) my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues. It’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war,” said Nadal.

Emergency talks are now set to take place amid the threat of removing points from Wimbledon. Each of the four Grand Slam tournaments has the biggest number of ranking points on offer on the Tour with the singles winner being awarded 2000 points. Whilst Wimbledon is independent from the Tour, it is the ATP who has control over the allocation of ranking points.

It is also unclear as to what action the women’s WTA Tour will take and if they will follow the same rumoured approach as the ATP. Steve Simon, who is the CEO of the WTA, has previously warned that his governing body would make ‘strong reaction’ but didn’t elaborate on what that might be. According to The Daily Mail, the ATP is trying to work alongside the women’s Tour in some capacity regarding this matter.

It is unclear as to when a final decision will be made.

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