Rankings Winners And Losers: Novak Djokovic Returns To The Top, Sofia Kenin Breaks New Ground - UBITENNIS
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Rankings Winners And Losers: Novak Djokovic Returns To The Top, Sofia Kenin Breaks New Ground

Ubitennis looks at the biggest movers in the ATP and WTA rankings following the conclusion of the Australian Open.

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2020 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and Sofia Kenin (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

The Australian Open has come to an end and there has been some noticeable moves in the world rankings by both veterans as well as rising stars of the game. On the other hand some players now face the prospect of battling to regain some footing on the tour following a series of disappointing losses.

 

Here is a breakdown of this week’s top movers and fallers.

Novak back on top

Novak Djokovic has once again returned to the world No.1 spot for the first time since November. Overtaking rival Rafael Nadal in the process. It is his 276th week in the position and he now has a 325-point lead over his nearest rival. Compared to two weeks ago, the same players are in the top five. However, Melbourne finalist Dominic Thiem overtakes Daniil Medvedev into fourth spot.

“Novak has had a faultless start to the season, leading Serbia to victory at the ATP Cup and capturing a record eighth Australian Open crown. He has proven yet again that he is the man to beat and his record in Australia is second to none. Many congratulations to Novak and his team on such impressive start to the year and his deserved return to World No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.”ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement.

Elsewhere, Nick Kyrgios has risen six places to 20th following his run to the fourth round of the Australian Open. Where he was knocked out by Nadal. It is the first time the Australian has been inside the top 20 since August 2018. He has been as high as 13th back in 2016.

Tennys Sandgren has achieved the biggest jump in the top 100 after rising 44 places from 100 to 56. The 28-year-old reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in what was his joint-best performance ever achieved at a grand slam. He also reached the quarter-final of the same tournament back in 2018. He was knocked out of the tournament by world No.3 Roger Federer.

Sandgren is one of only three players to rise 10 or more places in the top 100. The other two are Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics (67 to 53) and America’s Tommy Paul (80 to 70).

At the other end of the spectrum, Frances Tiafoe has fallen to his lowest position in over a year. Dropping 29 places to 79th in the world. The fall was due to his first round exit at the Australian Open where he was defending quarter-final points from the previous year. He is now the eighth highest ranked ATP player from America.

Tiafoe is one of five players to drop 10 or more places in the top 100:-

The top five fallers:-
No.62 Lucas Pouille FRA – down 38 places (currently injured)
No.79 Frances Tiafoe USA – down 29 places
No.85 Lloyd Harris RSA – down 13 places
No.69 Joao Sousa POR – down 10 places
No.95 Andreas Seppi ITA – down 10 places

Finally, Andrey Rublev is the most high-profile player to achieve a career-best ranking this week. The Russian has risen to 15th in the world as a result of an emphatic start to 2020. After winning titles in Doha and Auckland, he also reached the fourth round of the Australian Open. Another player to reach a new best is Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz at 28th.

Barty still leads the women, But Kenin is on the chase

As for the stars of the women’s game, Ash Barty is still comfortably in the world No.1 spot. The Australian currently has a lead of more than 2000 points against her nearest rival, which is Simona Halep. Both Barty and Halep reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

“It’s disappointing but it’s been a hell of a summer. If you’d have told me three weeks ago that we would have won a tournament in Adelaide and made the semi-final of the Australian Open, I’d take that every single day of the week.” The world No.1 told reporters last week.

Undoubtedly the biggest riser is newly crowned Melbourne champion Sofia Kenin. The 21-year-old has rocketed up the rankings to seventh in the world. Becoming the youngest American woman to crack the top 10 since Serena Williams back in 1999. Although she has already set her sights on one day claiming the No.1 honor.

“I hope so. I would love to; that’s my dream,” she said.
“I want to strive and get there. But baby steps and hopefully it will happen.”

Two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza is another player to rise up the rankings. The Spaniard has risen 16 spots to world No.16. Making it the first time she has been in the top 20 since May. Coached by Conchita Martinez, Muguruza finished runner-up to Kenin in Melbourne.

Ons Jabeur’s impressive run in the Australian Open he enabled her to rise to a ranking high of 45th. The Tunisian recently became the first Arab woman in history to reach the last eight of a grand slam tournament. Jabeur was the last player Caroline Wozniacki played before retiring from the sport.

As for the fallers, Naomi Osaka is on the verge of exiting the top 10 for the first time since August 2018. After failing to defend her title in Melbourne following a second round loss to Coco Gauff (who is now ranked 51st), she has dropped from fourth to 10th in the world. A big contrast to this time 12 months ago where she became the first Asian player in history to become world No.1 in the sport.

The biggest casualty in the top 100 is Danielle Collins, who has gone from 25th to 50th. The American was defending a heavy amount of points in Australia following her semi-final run in 2019. This year she lost in the second round.

Finally, Venus Williams has fallen a further 11 places to 66th. Her lowest position since 2012.

The WTA top 10

  1. Ashleigh Barty (8367 points)
  2. Simona Halep (6101)
  3. Karolina Pliskova (5290)
  4. Elina Svitolina (4775)
  5. Belinda Bencic (4675)
  6. Bianca Andreescu (4665)
  7. Sofia Kenin (4495)
  8. Kiki Bertens (3965)
  9. Serena Williams (3915)
  10. Naomi Osaka (3626)

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Jannik Sinner dreams to win the US Open and beat Roger Federer on Centre Court at Wimbledon

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Last year’s Next Gen Finals champion Jannik Sinner revealed that his dream would be to beat 20-time Grand Slam champion and eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer on the Centre Court at the All England Club at Wimbledon.

 

Sinner was bidding to make his debut at Wimbledon last year, but he lost in the first round of the qualifying round.

Many fans predict that Sinner has the chance to win a Grand Slam title and become world number 1.

Sinner advanced to Antwerp ATP 250 semifinals last October at the age of 18 after beating Gael Monfils. He became the youngest ATP Tour semifinal since Borna Coric, who reached this stage in Basel at the age of 17. He saved one match point against Steve Johnson in Masters 1000 debut in Rome. He got through to the qualifying round to reach the main draw at the US Open before losing to Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

This year Sinner beat world number 10 David Goffin in Rotterdam second round for the biggest win of his career. The Italian teenager coached by Riccardo Piatti earned his first Grand Slam main draw win at the Australian Open before losing to Marton Fucsovics.

“I know that I am only 18, but I like to play. The more I play, the more I like it. My goal is to win the US Open but I have the dream of beating Roger Federer on the Centre Court at Wimbledon”, said Sinner.

Federer underwent second arthostocopic knee surgery and announced that he will make his comeback in 2021. The Swiss player was sidelined by injury for six months in 2016 and made a successful return in January 2017 by winning an epic five-set Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal. He went on to win Wimbledon later that year and another Australian Open trophy in 2018.

“I hope Roger will play again next season”, said Sinner.

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US Open Must Allow Entourages Of Three Or Four People, Says Thiem

The world No.3 says he is feeling good ahead of the return of professional tennis next month.

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Dominic Thiem has come out against proposals to restrict the number of coaching staff that can travel to this year’s US Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This year’s New York major will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing a series of measures to help minimise the threat posed by the virus. Part of their plan is to limit how many people a player can bring with them to the tournament. It was originally reported that only one team member per player would be allowed to travel, but it has emerged that the limit has since been extended to three.

Speaking about the limits, three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem said the idea of only allowing one member of his team to travel with him would be a risk for some players on the Tour.

*”I do not think so. Three or four people must be allowed. It would be extremely risky to travel without your own physio. You need a local coach for this,’ Thiem told The Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

Thiem last played a match on the ATP Tour at the Rio Open in February where he lost in the quarter-finals. However, throughout the lockdown he has still managed to maintain his match fitness by participating in numerous tournaments. In total he has played 24 matches across three different countries, including one named after him called Thiems 7.

“Right now I feel very good,” he said. “I have played a lot of exhibition games in the last two months and I am not tired at all. I really wanted to play tennis again, since my start of the year was very good.’
“During This period of confinement at home I have been crushing myself a lot in the physical aspect and already when I returned to training. I have decided to improve the backhand and the serve a little more.”

The ATP Tour will resume next month with Thiem hoping that he can continue his form generated from earlier this year. At the Australian Open he reached the final for the first time in his career before getting edged out by Novak Djokovic. Although when he returns, tournaments will not be the same as before due to the ongoing pandemic with strict safety measures and reduced crowds in place.

“When the circuit returns, the matches will be exactly the same as we had previously, but the atmosphere will be different,” he said.
“All tennis players will miss playing tournaments where many people travelled to see us every day. In New York, Paris or Melbourne there are between 60,000 and 70,000 people every day in the facilities. That previous life we ​​had will not be the same and we may have to get used to this new normal for a few years.”

Thiem is one of only four men to have already made more than $1 million in prize money so far this year on the ATP Tour.

*NOTE: Since the publication of this article quotes have been edited following a translation mix-up.

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Matteo Berrettini beats Stefanos Tsitsipas in sudden death to claim the Ultimate Tennis Showdown title

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Matteo Berrettini saved match points to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 16-15 15-12 12-14 8-15 3-2 in Sudden Death at the first editiion of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown.

 

Tsitsipas took a 7-4 lead in the first quarter. Berrettini hit an easy volley when he was using his Winner x3 Card and hit an easy volley to lead 11-9. Tsitsipas was not able to convert with his card, but won two points to draw level to 11-11 with 3 minutes and a half to go.

Berrettini served for the deciding point at 15-15. Tsitsipas hit a shot wide after a long rally and Tsitsipas sealed the first set 16-15.

Tsitsitipas took an early 8-4 lead in the second quarter. The “Greek God” used the “Steal Serve” Card to increase his lead to six points. Berrettini clawed his way back and drew level to 10-10. After a time-out Tsitsipas was not able to use his Winner x3 card and Berrettini completed the come-back to seal the second set 15-12.

Berrettini raced out to a 4-0 lead in the third quarter. Tsitsipas used his x3 winner card and fired an ace to claw his way back to 4-4. Both players stayed level until 8-8. Tsitsipas served well to take a two-point lead before Berrettini used his 3x winner card. Berrettini had an opportunity for a volley winner, but he hit the ball into the net. Tsitsipas hit his return into the net, as the Greek player was leading 11-9. They were level at 12-12 as Berrettini was serving with 30 seconds to go. Tsitsipas hit a backhand passing shot to take the 13-1 lead. Tsitsipas claimed the third quarter 14-12, as Berrettini hit a double fault.

Tsitsipas took a 6-2 lead in the fourth quarter. Berrettini used the Winner x3 card, but he lost both points. Tsitsipas increased his lead to six points at 8-2. Tsitsipas claimed the third quarter forcing the match to the Sudden Death. Tsitsipas came close to win the match after a lucky net cord, but Berrettini came back and hit a forehand on the next point to seal his sudden death today. Berrettini avenged his recent defeat against Tsitsipas, who claimed a sudden death win over the Italian last weekend.

Berrettini and Tsitsipas met only once in the first round of last year’s Australian Open, where the Greek player took the edge in four tight sets 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6- 7-6 (7-4). They also played in the 2017 US Open qualifiers, when Tsitsipas prevailed 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-2) in a hard-fought match.

“I guess that was the secret, serving well, on the important moments. I think this format is going to help me going forward, you have to be there for every point”, said Berrettini.

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