Bianca Andreescu Commits To Title Defence At US Open As Others Play The Waiting Game - UBITENNIS
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Bianca Andreescu Commits To Title Defence At US Open As Others Play The Waiting Game

The Canadian believes the USTA has come up with ‘the best plan’ to ensure player safety at the major event.

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World No.6 Bianca Andreescu has confirmed that she intends to play at the US Open amid concerns that some of her rivals may choose to skip the event due to COVID-19 restrictions.

 

Andreescu is the defending champion at Flushing Meadows after defeating Serena Williams in the final last year. Becoming the first Canadian player in history to win a Grand Slam title at singles level. Taking to Twitter, the 20-year-old said she plans to make the most of tennis resuming later this year. On Wednesday the revised provisional schedule for 2020 was published with competitive tennis set to start during the first week of August in Palermo, Italy.

“The US Open will always hold a very special place in my heart. Arthur Ashe is where I won my first grand slam title and I treasure so many unforgettable moments at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Since then, we’ve seen sports, and the world as we know it, come to a halt due to the spread of COVID-19,” Andreescu wrote.
“I can’t stress enough that the health and safety of, not only the players, but of all those involved in making tennis happen again this season is, and has always been, of the utmost importance.”

It has been more than seven months since Andreescu last played a match on the Tour after missing the start of this season due to a knee injury. She was due to return to action at the Credit One Bank International in Charleston. An exhibition tournament set to feature some of the best players in North America. However, tournament organisers have announced she has withdrawn from competition. Although it is believed that her decision was due to logistics and is not a physical issue.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s US Open will not have any qualifying rounds and the size of the doubles draw has been cut. Players will be subject to testing throughout their stay in New York in which they will essentially be kept in a ‘bubble.’ Also this year, the Western and Southern Open have been relocated to Flushing meadows and will take place prior to the Grand Slam. Both events will take place behind closed doors.

“I have no doubt that the USTA has come up with the best plan to ensure our safety as we look to the return of tennis in 2020. The decision, I know was not made lightly and I completely support and understand every players personal opinions on the matter and their comfort level traveling near and far to compete on the world’s biggest stage,” Andreescu said.
“Returning to life as we once knew it is no longer an option but, I plan to make the most of the opportunity to get back on the court, re-connect with players and friends and hopefully bring tennis back to the millions of fans across the globe safely.”

Others still on the fence

Despite Andreescu’s confidence in the event, others are sticking to the cautious side. World No.2 Simona Halep, who is the reigning Wimbledon champion, has previously cast doubt on her travelling to New York this year. It had been originally reported that the Romanian plans to play tournaments in just Europe, but a spokesperson from her team has since said that no final decision has been made yet.

“Given the conditions outlined in the US Open this morning, as of today I do not currently plan to play in NYC,” Halep said in a press release issued to Christopher Clarey from The New York Times.
“However, as we know, this situation is fluid and the conditions may change and improve before the entry deadline in July.’
“I would like to underline that my decision is not set in stone.” She added.

Another top women’s name yet to make her final decision is Petra Kvitova. The Czech says she is hoping that the current health situation in the American city improved in the coming week to make her final decision ‘easier.’ Since making her grand slam main draw debut in 2008, Kvitova has never missed the US Open.

“I would like to congratulate the U.S. Open on their hard work and vision in getting to this point and for putting player safety at the centre of their plans,” she told Reuters via e-mail.
“Hopefully the COVID-19 numbers and conditions around travel restrictions continue to improve in order to make the decision to play an easy one.”

On the other hand, Serena Williams has declared that she would be playing at the tournament. Doing so by recording a video statement that was played during the USTA’s virtual press conference yesterday. The American will be bidding to win a record-equalling 24th major title and become the first woman ever to have won a Grand Slam in four different decades.

“I really cannot wait to return in New York and play the US Open 2020,” the six-time champion said. “I feel like the USTA is going to do a really good job of ensuring everything is amazing and everything is perfect and everyone is safe. It’s going to be exciting.”

The US Open will get underway on August 31st.

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Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini reach the quarter finals in Madrid

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Alexander Zverev beats Dan Evans 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to reach the quarter final at the Madrid Mutua Open. Matteo Berrettini moved into the quarter final with straight-set win over Federico Delbonis

 

Evans earned an early break to take a 1-0 lead. Zverev broke twice in the second and fourth games to open up a 4-1 lead and closed out the first set 6-3 with an ace. 

Evans saved the only break point of the second set at 4-4. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Zverev got three mini-breaks to win the breaker 7-3. 

Matteo Berrettini has reached the third Masters 1000 quarter final of his career with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4. 

The first set went on serve until the eighth game, when Delbonis saved the only break point. Delbonis went up a 4-1 lead, but Berrettini fought back by winning six consecutive games to take the first set 7-4. 

Berrettini went up an early break to take a 2-0 lead, but Delbonis broke straight back to draw level to 2-2, when Berrettini made two forehand unforced errors. The next games went on serve until the 10th game, when Berrettini earned the break to win the second set 6-4. 

Berrettini will face a quarter final against Christian Garin, who upset Danil Medvedev. Berrettini ties 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Garin. Garin beat Berrettini in the 2019 BMW Open final in Munich. Berrettini avenged this defeat against his South American player in Shanghai later that year. 

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Casper Ruud stuns Stefanos Tsitsipas to take the biggest win of his career

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Casper Ruud scored his first win over a top five player, beating this year’s Monte-Carlo champion and Barcelona finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 after 1 hour and 34 minutes without facing a break point. 

 

The Norwegian player has reached his third consecutive clay-court Masters 1000 quarter final following the semifinals in Rome in 2020 and in Monte-Carlo last month. 

The first set went on serve with no break points. Ruud won the tie-break 7-4 with two mini-breaks before earning the only break in the seventh game to close out the second set 6-4. 

Tsitsipas won his first Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo and lost the Barcelona final after holding a championship point against Rafael Nadal. 

“Stefanos is one of the best players this year on the Tour, one of the ones who has the most matches. He has won his first Masters 1000 in Monte-Carlo. He was very close to getting the title there, as well, but the conditiions are a bit different here than other clay courts with there, as well, but the conditions are a bit different here than other clay courts with the fast shots, the ball travelling faster through the air because of the altitude. You get a lot of free points with the serve that you don’t usually get on the clay courts. I think that also today went a bit in my advantage. I felt like he was doing some mistakes that he doesn’t always do. I was just trying t take care of the chance that I got”, said Ruud.Ruud set up a quarter final against Alexander Bublik, who beat Aslan Karatsev 6-4 6-3. Ruud beat Bublik in their only previous head-to-head match against Bublik in three sets in St. Petersburg.

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Ash Barty Eases Into Madrid Final

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Number 1 seed Ashleigh Barty beat Paula Badosa 6-4 6-3 to reach her fourth final of the 2021 season at the Madrid Mutua Open after winning three titles at the Yarra Valley Classic, Miami and Stuttgart.

 

The first set went on serve in the first nine games. Barty earned two break points in the 10th game with a lob and loose forehands from Badosa. Badosa saved two set points with winners, but Barty converted her third chance after a double fault from Badosa to close out the first set 6-4. 

After an early trade of breaks, Barty earned her second break after a double fault from Badosa in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. The Aussie star saved three break points in the fifth game and held serve for 4-1 with a dropshot. Barty dropped just two more points on serve to close out the second set 6-3. 

Barty has extended her red clay winning streak to 16 consecutive matches and her win-loss record to 25-3 this season. 

Barty has clinched her 16th consecutive win on red clay. The Australian player avenged her recent defeat against Badosa in the quarter finals in Charleston. 

“It was important for me to get that early break back in the second set and keep my nose in front, almost force her to come up with something that was going to be a really high level to be at a high level to be able to get back into the match. I have learnt a lot about clay, without a doubt. I promise you, I am still counting down to the grass court season. It’s one of the my favourite times of the year. I think the memories and the learnings now that we are getting from the red clay has been really cool, to be able to challenge myself in different ways”, said Barty.

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