WTA Finals 2019 Day 1 Preview - UBITENNIS
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WTA Finals 2019 Day 1 Preview

The top eight women in the world are all present for this event’s debut in Shenzhen, with significantly increased prize money.

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In the round robin portion of the tournament, the red group will start play today, with the purple group taking the court tomorrow.  The red group includes four players whose 2019 highlights all took place in the first half of the year: French Open champion Ash Barty, Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka, Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova, and Dubai champion Belinda Bencic.  Barty is a heavy favorite to end the year as the world No.1, as she leads No.2 Karolina Pliskova by over 1,000 points. With over $14M US dollars on the line over the next eight days, who will win the final WTA event of 2019?

 

Naomi Osaka (3) vs. Petra Kvitova (6)

The tournament begins with a rematch of the 2019 Australian Open final.  All the way back in January, Osaka claimed her second consecutive Major by overcoming Kvitova in a stellar match.  That important contest is their only previous meeting. Naomi is certainly the player who arrives in Shenzhen with more confidence.  She’s on a 10-match win streak in Asia, with titles in both Osaka and Beijing last month. In Beijing, she became the first player in over six months to defeat Bianca Andreescu in a completed match.  She also went on to take out Ash Barty in the final. While Kvitova was the champion of this event eight years ago, she hasn’t won a title or even reached a final of any tournament since April. It’s the second season in a row where she peaked early in the year, and struggled in the second half.  Based on current form, as well as their history, Osaka is the favorite to start this event with a win.

Ash Barty (1) vs. Belinda Bencic (7)

This is the WTA Finals debut for both of these competitors.  What a year it’s been for the Australian, with 52 match wins to date and three titles, including her first Major singles title.  She’s consistently performed well throughout the year, and on all surfaces. As mentioned before, she was a finalist last month in Beijing, her last tournament prior to this event.  Bencic meanwhile moved into qualifying position for this event just a week ago, thanks to her title run in Moscow. This will be their first career meeting, which shouldn’t be too surprising considering how much time these two young stars have spent off the tennis court in recent years.  Barty of course left the tennis world and played cricket back in Australia, while Bencic’s career was sidelined by injuries after her breakthrough several years ago. With no history between these two, and this being their first WTA Finals, it’s hard to forecast the outcome. Both arrive with plenty of momentum, but I’ll give the slight edge to the world No.1.  Her all-court game may prove challenging for Bencic, who is often in less control of her emotions than the steady Barty.

ORDER OF PLAY 

Not before 4:30 p.m local time

[3] Naomi OSAKA (JPN) vs. [6] Petra KVITOVA (CZE)

[1] Ashleigh BARTY (AUS) vs. [7] Belinda BENCIC (SUI)

[2] HSIEH Su-Wei (TPE) / Barbora STRYCOVA (CZE) vs. [7] Samantha STOSUR (AUS) / ZHANG Shuai (CHN)

[4] Gabriela DABROWSKI (CAN) / XU Yifan (CHN) vs. [6] Barbora KREJCIKOVA (CZE) / Katerina SINIAKOVA (CZE)

 

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Kiki Bertens Believes In Stability And Trust Ahead Of 2020 Season

Kiki Bertens looks for stability in hope of grand slam success in 2020.

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Kiki Bertens (@rogerscup - Twitter)

Kiki Bertens believes stability and trust is the key to success ahead of the 2020 season despite a time of change for the Dutchwoman. 

 

A time of change is approaching for Kiki Bertens as she recently just got married to her physical trainer Remko De Rijke.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5iU5w9hTgf/

It’s not only off the court, change is approaching for the former Wimbledon quarter-finalist as her and coach Raemon Sluiter parted ways during the off-season.

After the split it would have been easy for Bertens to make a radical change to her coaching team but that is not her style as she has promoted Elise Tamaela to a main coaching role.

Even through a time of change, Bertens believes stability is crucial to success, “It takes me a while to be able to trust someone,” she admitted to Dutch website De Telegraaf. 

“And I don’t want to spend that time on something like that. We’re going to continue in the same way for next year. The results were not as expected in the Grand Slams but I had other good weeks. It’s really not that I felt different playing in the Slams than in other weeks in which I could win titles.”

Although the formula to winning a grand slam has yet to be solved, the world number nine has achieved great consistency having won 55 matches in 2019, which also included the biggest title of her career in Madrid.

A new era await for Bertens with her new coach and plenty of praise was given to Elise Tamaela ahead of the new season, “For me the most important thing is that that person knows a lot about tennis. I have to be able to fully trust her,” Bertens said.

“To be able to laugh with that person, eat with her. I prefer to keep the equipment to the minimum possible and be able to feel comfortable in terms of confidence. Sometimes more people in the team only bring more opinions. And that style is not mine.”

This simplistic formula has worked for Bertens in the past and as the 2020 season approaches, she’s not looking to change it.

However will inexperience lead to the same results at grand slams, with the level of the Women’s game rising, Bertens may find that breaking the boundaries of stability is needed.

The former world number four will start her march towards more glory in Brisbane on the 6th of January.

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Caroline Wozniacki Announces Retirement After Australian Open

Caroline Wozniacki has announced that she will retire from tennis after the Australian Open in January.

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Caroline Wozniacki (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Caroline Wozniacki has announced that she will retire from tennis after the Australian Open as a new chapter in her life approaches. 

 

The Dane won 30 WTA singles titles in her career and spent 71 weeks as world number one although a grand slam had haunted her for most of her career.

However that changed in 2018 after an epic win over Simona Halep sealed a dream come true as she won her first grand slam at the Australian Open.

Since winning her maiden slam though, it has been an uphill struggle on the court for Wozniacki as she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Some days the former world number one and on some days, it is a constant battle for her to even wake up in the morning.

Now with other priorities taking over having been married to former NBA player David Lee since June and already studying Business at Harvard, Wozniacki today took the decision to retire from tennis after the Australian Open.

https://twitter.com/MPTenisPodcast/status/1202972268831367168

In a statement on Instagram, Woznaicki told her followers that she had accomplished everything she wanted to and looks forward to the future, “I’ve accomplished everything I could ever dream of on the court,” she said.

“I’ve always told myself, when the time comes, that there are things away from tennis that I want to do more, then it’s time to be done. In recent months, I’ve realized that there is a lot more in life that I’d like to accomplish off the court.

“Getting married to David was one of those goals and starting a family with him while continuing to travel the world and helping raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis (project upcoming) are all passions of mine moving forward.

“This has nothing to do with my health and this isn’t a goodbye, I look forward to sharing my exciting journey ahead with all of you!

“Finally, I want to thank with all my heart, the fans, my friends, my sponsors, my team, especially my father as my coach, my husband, and my family for decades of support! Without all of you I could have never have done this!”

Although this retirement may have been coming, not many people would have predicted it would come at the scene of her grand slam breakthrough.

Now in the last stretch of her career, the Dane will want to finish on a high as she looks to celebrate a career that has lasted nearly 15 years.

 

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Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Venus Williams are the stand-out names in Adelaide

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Four top 10 players Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens and former Grand Slam champions Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber will grab the headlines at the Adelaide International from 12 to 18 January 2020.

 

A total of seven Grand Slam champions and five former world number one players will take part in the Adelaide WTA tourament.

This year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty leads a star-studded line-up, which includes 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and seven other members of the top 20.

The Main Draw also features Sofia Kenin, Alison Riske, Sloane Stephens and Danielle Collins, World Number 30 Quang Wang. World Number 12 and this Rome WTA Premier finalist Johanna Konta will play her first tournament since the US Open following a knee injury.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been announced as the Top 20 wildcard.

“It is always exciting to play at a new tournament in front of new fans. I have had so many memorable times times in Australia over the years and I am looking forward to discovering Adelaide and all it has to offer”, said Venus Williams.

The men’s line-up includes 2019 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, Alex De Minaur, Lucas Pouille and Andrey Rublev.

“The full list of players is a real who’s who of tennis, from Australia’s favourite Ashleigh Barty to the iconic Venus Williams, right through to the young talent of Alex De Minaur and the experienced campaigner Novak Djokovic in the men’s field”, said South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway.

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