Sofia Kenin Shocks Muguruza To Claim First Grand Slam Title At Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Sofia Kenin Shocks Muguruza To Claim First Grand Slam Title At Australian Open

Sofia Kenin won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open with a surprise three-set win over Garbine Muguruza.

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Sofia Kenin (@Australian Open on Twitter)

Sofia Kenin Shocks Muguruza To Claim First Grand Slam Title At Australian Open

 

Sofia Kenin shone on one of the biggest stages in tennis as she fought back from a set down to beat Garbine Muguruza 4-6 6-2 6-2 and claim her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

The American, 21, had never even reached a major quarter-final before the event. Now she is a champion and she will move up to World No.7 when the new rankings are released.

“My dream officially came true,” Kenin said in her winner’s speech. “I cannot even describe this feeling. It’s so emotional and I’ve worked so hard and I’m just so grateful to be standing here.”

The American continued, “These past two weeks have been the best of my life. I would like to thank my team and my dad. Thank you for making this possible. I can’t believe we’re here today.”

Kenin started brightly and won six of the first seven points. Then Muguruza settled down and fought back to hold serve in the second game.

In the next game, the Spaniard played a typically aggressive point to get to deuce. Then she punished a short ball with a cross-court winner to earn the first break point of the match.

The American saved it, along with another one a few points later. However, Muguruza eventually got the break when Kenin hit a forehand wide of the court.

The 14th seed tried hard to break back in the Spaniard’s next two service games. But Muguruza held firm to establish a 4-2 lead.

It looked as if the set would end quickly when Kenin fell 0-40 behind in game seven. However, the American refused to buckle. She saved four break points and went on to win the game.

Muguruza then gifted the 14th seed a break with one of the worst service games you are ever likely to see. She made two unforced errors and two double faults.

Kenin did not capitalise. She made two errors at the start of the next game and the Spaniard pounced. She hit a forehand winner to earn two break points, and then forced an error from the American with a deep volley.

Muguruza successfully closed out the set thanks to two unreturnable serves and a couple of errors from Kenin.

Kenin rises while Muguruza dips

Garbine Muguruza (@Australian Open on Twitter)

That first set was as good as it got for Muguruza. During the rest of the match, her performance steadily declined.

Meanwhile, Kenin got better and better as the match went on. She held to love twice at the start of the second set. Then she broke the Spaniard to move 3-1 ahead.

For the rest of the set, the American ran Muguruza ragged. She scurried around the court and made it very difficult for the two-time Grand Slam champion to dictate proceedings.

The Spaniard did not find an effective way to respond. She hit just three winners while making seven unforced errors in the last four games of the set. Consequently, Kenin broke her again and quickly wrapped up the set 6-2.

Kenin continues to shine, Muguruza fades away

Sofia Kenin (@Australian Open on Twitter)

At the start of the decider, both players looked nervous. Muguruza made a series of errors, while Kenin struggled to play two good points in a row. In the end, both players held twice, and it was 2-2.

The fifth game of the set effectively decided the match. The Spaniard played aggressively to make it 0-40 on the American’s serve.

Then Kenin responded in outstanding fashion. She dragged Muguruza around the court on each of the next three points and finished all the rallies with clinical winners. Two points, the American secured the hold with a pass after the Spaniard unwisely chose to come to the net after a mid-court shot.

Muguruza seemed unaffected by that disappointment when she went 40-15 up in the next game. Then she fell apart. She made three unforced errors and a double fault to hand Kenin a priceless break.

The Spaniard suffered a similar collapse in what turned out to be the last game of the match. She hit two aces on her way to 40-15. Then she made two double faults.

The American earned her first match point with a backhand winner down the line. Muguruza saved it with a good serve. Then Kenin hit a cross-court forehand winner to earn another chance.

Appropriately, given her performance, the Spaniard made another double fault to gift the young American the point she need to achieve her dream of Grand Slam glory.

 

 

 

 

Grand Slam

REPORT: French Open Attendance To Be More Than Halved Amid COVID-19 Threat

It is understood that the number of fans allowed to attend daily has been cut by roughly 55%.

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This year’s French Open has been forced to dramatically reduce their initial plans for 11,500 daily visitors, according to information obtained by L’Equipe newspaper.

 

The number has reportedly been cut to just 5000 following a ‘governmental decision’ linked to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Organisers had originally set out plans for three separate zones with two holding up to 5000 people and an additional welcoming 1500. However, it has now emerged the new number will only be applied to one specific zone where the premier Philippe-Chatrier Court is located. Meaning that it is possible that matches played on courts Suzanne-Lenglen and Simonne-Mathieu will not be opened to the public.

In recent days France has seen a rise in coronavirus cases and reported 9784 new infections in the country on Wednesday. A slight dip of France’s all-time high of 10,561 which was recorded last Saturday. It is understood that the decision to reduce the crowd size at Roland Garros is also based on spikes in other countries apart from France.

There has been no official comment from the French Tennis Federation (FFT) but L’Equipe reports that the change has been made in line with new local government guidance. The ruling will have no impact on next week’s qualifying tournament which is being played behind closed doors.

Leading up to the clay-court major some players have voiced caution about attending the event with crowds. Outspoken player Nick Kyrgios, who is not playing in Paris this year, went as far as accusing organisers of not taking the pandemic seriously enough. Former champion Simona Halep has also voiced her own concerns.

“I just read that they will have fans,” Halep told reporters earlier this week. “But I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be very strict.
“We cannot be with the fans, we cannot be with the people that are not in the bubble, so I think they will be separate. Hopefully it’s going to be safe, and we will feel like here, like in the bubble.”

The French Open will start on September 28th. Rafael Nadal and Ash Barty are the reigning champions but Barty will not be defending her title due to travelling concerns related to COVID-19.

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Grand Slam

‘Her Values Are Not What Tennis Stands For’ – Andy Murray Backs Calls To Rename Margaret Court Arena

The British tennis star is the latest top name to hit out at Court over her history of anti-gay comments.

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Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray has said the Australian Open should consider renaming one of their premier courts after Margaret Court due to her controversial views.

 

The former world No.1 says 78-year-old Court, who holds the record for most singles Grand Slam titles won, doesn’t represent the values of the sport. Despite being one of Australia’s most decorated tennis players of all time, Court has a history of making various anti-gay views but maintains that she is not homophobic. She once said that the women’s tour was ‘full of lesbians‘ and during her playing career described rival Martina Navratilova as a ‘bad role model’ due to her sexuality. In other incidents she also boycotted Qantas airlines due to their support of marriage equality and publicly criticised former player Casey Dellacqua for having a baby with her same-sex partner.

Murray joins a list of figures calling for a change along with Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe who both held an on-court protest back in January calling for the name change. The Brit argues that the controversy surrounding Court takes focus away from tennis and this should not be the case. This year the Australian was honoured at the Melbourne major with a low-key event to mark the 50th anniversary of her calendar Grand Slam.

“She has obviously offended and upset a lot of people over the years. I think the players certainly have spoken up, which is a positive thing,” Murray told pridelife.com.
“As far as renaming the venue. I think that yes, it’s something the sport should consider. I don’t know who makes the final decision on that but I don’t think her values are what tennis stands for. When you get to the Australian Open you want to concentrate on the tennis. Court’s views detract from that.”

Tennis Australia, who oversees the Australian Open, has previously distanced themselves from Court’s views. In a statement previously issued they said the decision to recognise the 50th anniversary of her triumph was solely due to her achievements and they do not endorse her views.

“Court was given a ceremony at the Australian Open this year to mark her achievements in the game, but the reception she received from the public was lukewarm,” Murray commented.

The issue of gay rights is rarely spoken about in the world of men’s tennis. Unlike the women’s game there are no openly gay male players and only a handful have publicly spoken about their sexuality in recent years. The most well known being former top 100 American player Brian Vahaly who came out after he retired from the sport.

“I think, certainly in men’s tennis, there have been a number of players who have come out as gay, but not while they’re competing. I think there’s still a stigma around it which obviously shouldn’t be the case,” said Murray.

There are various theories about the reasons where there may be no openly gay players on the Tour. Murray says he has never witnessed or heard homophobic comments whilst playing in the sport, but admits that it may be different if somebody did come out.

“I wouldn’t say that I have heard it in the locker room. If more gay men came out it’s something you might see more of potentially,” he explained.
“There have been a few things said in articles I’ve read where players have made homophobic comments, but I’ve not been in the presence of anyone when they have made homophobic comments in the locker room.”

Murray will return to action in less than two weeks time at the French Open in Paris.

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Nick Kyrgios Slams French Open Over Crowd Decision

The world No.41 explains why he is ‘disappointed’ with the French major as other players also voice caution about playing in front of crowds.

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Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has accused officials at the French Open of not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously following their decision to allow spectators to attend.

 

The clay-court Grand Slam has created three separate zones where fans are allowed to attend with each of those having a daily capacity limit. The zones including court Philippe Chatrier and Suzanne Lenglen will hold up to 5000 each. Meanwhile an additional 1500 spectators will be allowed to visit the area surrounding the third court, Simonne Mathieu. The French Tennis Federation (FFT) says strict measures will be in place and their plans have been drafted following ‘advice from a committee of expert scientists.` Masks must be worn at all times by those attending.

Despite the measures that have been put in place, former top 20 player Kyrgios has criticised the move amid the number of cases in the country. France has recently seen a surge in their daily toll. On Tuesday they reported 7852 newly confirmed cases within a 24-hour period compared to 6158 the day before. Last Saturday the number surpassed the 10,000 mark.

“I am most likely not going to play,” Kyrgios told News Corp.
“Especially with the cases rising there. I don’t feel comfortable to go there and play.
“They are thinking about doing it with crowds. I don’t think the tournament is taking it seriously. It’s disappointing the level of seriousness they are taking towards it.”

Kyrgios hasn’t played a competitive match since February after choosing to skip the North American swing over concerns related to the pandemic. A decision that was also taken by the likes of Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep. Although he also previously hinted that it is unlikely that he will be travelling to Europe this year and therefore ending his season early. A approach that was also taken by compatriot Ash Barty.

The 25-year-old isn’t the only player to have express concerns about crowds at Roland Garros. 2018 champion Halep told reporters at this week’s Italian Open, which is being held behind closed doors, that she is hopeful that officials at the venue will be ‘strict’ with the measures.

“I just read that they will have fans,” she said. “But I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be very strict.
“We cannot be with the fans, we cannot be with the people that are not in the bubble, so I think they will be separate. Hopefully it’s going to be safe, and we will feel like here, like in the bubble.”

Meanwhile, cautiously-speaking Nadal says it is a case of wait and see what happens in Paris. This year he is bidding to win the major for an historic 13th time.

“I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what’s the situation’s going to look like in Roland Garros,” he told journalists on Monday when questioned about the French Open.
“Let’s see how the virus evolves the next couple of weeks. Hopefully in a good way. Doesn’t look like that, no? Let’s see. We need to be patient and we need to wait to see how the situation improves.”

Unlike the main draw, the qualifying rounds will be held behind closed doors in order to make it easier for players to move around the venue. The tournament gets underway on September 21st with the main draw starting the week after.

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