After Indian Wells Gets Cancelled, Will The Miami Open Follow Suit? - UBITENNIS
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After Indian Wells Gets Cancelled, Will The Miami Open Follow Suit?

How likely is it that the next big event in the sport will also be cancelled?

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On Monday the Coronavirus outbreak claimed its biggest victim in the sport to date.

 

The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells was officially called off following advice from medical experts. A decision was made shortly after a state of public health emergency was declared in Coachella Valley following a case of Covid-19. A deadly virus that has infected more than 100,000 people worldwide and has placed many countries on lockdown. Symptoms include headaches, coughing and a shortness of breath. The most at risk are the elderly or people with underlying health conditions.

“We are very disappointed that the tournament will not take place, but the health and safety of the local community, fans, players, volunteers, sponsors, employees, vendors, and everyone involved with the event is of paramount importance,” said Tournament Director Tommy Haas. “We are prepared to hold the tournament on another date and will explore options.”

It is not the first time Coronavirus has forced the suspension or cancellation of tennis events. In recent weeks two WTA events in China were called off, numerous ITF events in Italy has been scrapped and three Davis Cup ties recently took place behind closed doors. Although none of those tournaments are as significant as Indian Wells, which is known as the fifth grand slam of tennis.

The next big event is set to get underway in two weeks time in Miami at the Hard Rock Stadium. Although that event is also in serious doubt. Over the weekend it was confirmed that the Ultra music festival has been cancelled, which was set to get underway on March 26th. Officials felt that the dance event, which an estimated 55,000 people attend every day, could be a breeding ground for the virus.

“We know the temporary financial impact that this will have on many but at the same time, we cannot put the welfare and safety of our residents, for any amount of money, at risk,” said Miami Commissioner Joe Corollo.

How the Ultra festival is related to the Miami Open is geographically. Less than 20 miles separate the two venues or an estimated 30 minute drive. If officials in the city are willing to cancel Ultra, surely the Miami Open will follow suit? After all, they were both due to take place at the same time.

Nevertheless, tennis bosses are keeping an upbeat outlook. WTA chief Steve Simon has said in a statement that no decision has been made yet regarding the prestigious event.

“It is too soon to speculate about what will happen to other tournaments that follow. We will continue to closely monitor the situation. Health and safety will always come first.” He stressed.

Although tennis players will be pressing organisers to make any decision well in advance. The Indian Wells announcement was made on the eve of the women’s qualifying tournament with many players already at the venue practising. Drawing criticism from some.

“It would be nice if the ATP Tour communicated a bit better to the players of a suspension of such a tournament when we are all here … finding out about social networks or WhatsApp is quite lazy.” Diego Schwartzman tweeted in Spanish on Twitter.

There is a possibility that Indian Wells could still be played in 2020. Spanish newspaper Marca have reported that the event could take place after the US Open if the Asian swing is cancelled. The origin of Covid-19 came from China and has been traced to a market in Wuhan that illegally sells wild animals. Although at present this is just speculation. As for the European swing of the tour in April, it remains to be seen what happens to those events.

Last year the Miami Open attracted a record attendance of 388,734 people over two weeks. The tournament is held in Miami-Dade County. According to the county mayor, Carlos A. Gimenez, there has been no positive cases of Covid-19 in the area as of Sunday March 8th. Although there has been 18 in Florida, which is the state Miami-Dade is located in.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the line-up at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna

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Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the line-up at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. The Greek star will play in the Austrian capital for the second time in his career. 

 

Tsitsipas will face 2017 ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov in the first round. The Greek player will be looking to avenge his defeat against his Bulgarian opponent, who took the win in three sets 6-7 6-4 6-4 in their previous head-to-head match at last year’s edition of the Vienna tournament. 

Tsitsipas will be aiming to win his third title this season following his triumphs in Monte-Carlo and Lyon. 

Number 2 seed Alexander Zverev will play in the Erste Bank Open main draw for the second time. This year Zverev won two Masters 1000 titles in Madrid and Cincinnati and the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.

Matteo Berrettini will open his campaign against Alexei Popyrin. The Italian star is the third seed and has a good chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin. This year Berrettini won two titles in Belgrade and Queen’s and reached two finals at the Madrid Masters 1000 and Wimbledon. 

Hubert Hurkacz holds the final qualifying spot for Turin in ninth place with 2955 points, 110 points ahead of Jannik Sinner, who won his fourth title this season in Antwerp following his previous wins in Melbourne, Washington and Sofia. The 20-year-old Italian star also finished runner-up to Hurkacz in his first Masters 1000 final in Miami. 

Sinner has become the first Italian player in history to win four ATP titles in the same season and is the youngest player to win five ATP Tour titles since 19-year-old Novak Djokovic claimed the Estoril trophy in 2007. Sinner will face a tough first round match against Reilly Opelka. 

Sinner dropped just a total of eight games against Lloyd Harris in the semifinal and Diego Schwartzman in the final. 

The line-up also features another Masters 1000 chmpion Cameron Norrie, who won at Indian Wells and is currently ranked 11th in the ATP Race to Turin with 2795 points ahead of this year’s US Open semifinalist Felix Auger Aliassime (2330 points). 

Andy Murray will play in Vienna for the third time in his career as a wild card. Murray won the Austrian tournment twice in 2014 and 2016. He will take on Hurkacz, who won his previous head-to-head matches against the British player in Cincinnati and Metz. Murray beat Frances Tiafoe in a marathon match after 3 hours and 45 minutes in Antwerp last week. 

Kevin Anderson got through to the qualifying round to secure his spot in the main draw. The 2018 Vienna champion will face Alex De Minaur, who won two titles in Antalya and Eastbourne. The top first-round matches are: Diego Schwartzman against Fabio Fognini, Gael Monfils against Lorenzo Musetti, Daniel Evans against Carlos Alcaraz. 

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Ann Li clinches her first WTA Tour title in Tenerife

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Ann Li clinched her first WTA Tour title with a 6-1 6-4 win over 19-year-old Spanish player Camila Osorio after 1 hour and 10 minutes at the Tenerife Ladies Open.

 

Li reached her second final after her first title match against Anett Kontaveit at the Grampians Trophy in Melbourne last winter was not played just before the Australian Open. 

Li converted five of her ten break points and hit 15 winners. Osorio earned her first break in the opening game. Li bounced back by winning six consecutive games with three breaks of serve. The 21-year-old US player hit 8 winners to 6 unforced errors. Li broke Osorio at love with a forehand return winner in the first game of the second set. Osorio got the break straight back in the second game. Li earned the decisive break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and served out the win with a forehand overhead for 6-4 in the 10th game.

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Aslan Karatsev claims his second title this season at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow

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Aslan Karatsev claimed claimed his second ATP Tour title of the season at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow after his 6-2 6-4 win over 2014 and 2015 Moscow Kremlin Cup champion Marin Cilic in the final after 77 minutes. 

 

Karatsev has kept alive his hopes of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. The Russian player is currently 13th in the ATP Race to Turin with 2280 points, 675 points behind ninth-placed Hubert Hurkacz, who holds the last qualifying spot for Turin. Karatsev reached the semifinals at the Australian Open as a qualifier and won his first title in Dubai last March. 

Karatsev earned an early break in the opening game of the first set. He did not face a break point and dropped just one point on his first serve. 

Karatsev converted his second break point in the seventh game of the second set. He saved a break point before serving out the second set 6-4 in the 10th game. He had never advanced to the third round in his previous appearances at the Kremlin Cup. 

“It is a dream come true. It is a tournament where I have played in qualifying at and now I am winning the tournament. Thank you for all your support. It was a nervous final game. I hit a double and then on break point there was that long rally, but I managed to win it in the end. First of all, I would like to dedicate the win to my parents, my mother and my father, all my relatives and my friends”, said Karatsev.

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