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 However, tournament organisers have announced she has withdrawn from competition.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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Andrey Rublev, Dominic Thiem and Roberto Bautista Agut secure their spot in the semifinals at Thiem’s 7 tournament

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Andrey Rublev edged Casper Ruud 6-2 3-6 10-4 at the Thiem’s 7 tournament in Kitzbuhel. After losing the first set Ruud came back to win the second set forcing the match to the third set. Rublev won the super tie-break when Ruud made a double fault on the match point. Rublev needed a win from Dominic Thiem against Jan Lennard Struff to secure his spot in the semifinal.

 

Thiem beat Struff 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to score his third consecutive win at this tournament after defeating Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev in the first two days.

The first set went on serve until the 10th game, when Thiem converted on his first break point at 5-4 to clinch the first set in 30 minutes. In the second set Thiem did not convert two break points at 3-2 and another chance at 4-3. It came down to the tie-break. Thiem earned a mini-break to take a 2-1 lead and held on his serve to create three match point at 6-3. The home player converted on his first chance, as Struff’s backhand sailed long. Thiem set up a semifinal clash against Roberto Bautista Agut.

The Spanish player converted five of his six break points and won 73% of the rallies of the rallies in his service game in his 6-0 6-1 win over Dennis Novak to get the second point in his round robin group and secure his spot in the semifinals in the Group B.

Bautista Agut won 5 of the 7 games of the match before Novak earned his only game of the match by holding his first service game in the second set. Bautista Agut won five consecutive games to win the second set 6-1.

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Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios pull out of Berlin exhibition tournament

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Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios have withdrawn from the exhibition bett1 ACES tournament in Berlin. Both players were expected to join Dominic Thiem in the tournament, which will take place in the Steffi Graf Stadium from 13 to 15 July and in the Hangar 6 from 17 to 19 July. Caroline Garcia has pulled out from the women’s tournament due to a knee injury and will be replaced by Anastasija Sevastova.

 

“I was planning to play in Berlin this month, but I have made the decision to stay put and train with my team and not play any tournaments at the moment. It’s never nice to miss the chance to play, but I will be back soon”, said Zverev on the social media.

Zverev updated his fans on his latest news on his twitter account.

“I wanted to update you on a few things. First, on Friday I took my third test for Covid-19 and I am happy to say it also came back negative. Secondly, I am going through a trial period with David Ferrer on my team. I could not be more excited to get to work. I can’t wait for the tour to be back”, said Zverev.

Berlin organizers doubt that Zverev will play in Berlin. Last week Edwin Weindorfer said that he was considering refusing to allow Zverev to play in Berlin and warned he would have zero tolerance of any player who parties during the exhibition tournament.

“Zverev’s management said that he is not planning to play in any tournament at the moment. We are obviously disappointed, because he would have had a good opportunity to play in front of his fans”, said Weindorfer.

 Dominic Thiem, Jannik Sinner and Jan Lennard Struff in the men’s field and Elina Svitolina, Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and Andrea Petkovic are the top names of the Berlin tournament.

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Donna Vekic Splits With Coach, Disputes The Reason Behind Move

The world No.24 has questioned a statement from her ex-coach concerning the reason behind his departure.

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Croatia’s top women’s player has been left searching for a new mentor on the Tour after parting ways with her coach after more than two years.

 

Donna Vekic has confirmed that she is no longer working with Torben Beltz, who previously guided Angelique Kerber to two of her Grand Slam titles. Under Beltz’s guidance, the world No.24 reached three WTA Finals as well as the quarter-finals of her first Grand Slam at the 2019 US Open. Last year the 24-year-old also broke into the top 20 for the first time in her career.

News of the split was confirmed by Beltz after the German coach posted a statement on his Instagram account. In it, he cites ‘different views’ in practicing and scheduling as the reason behind them going separate ways.

“Unfortunately Team Donna and I had different views in setting up the practice and tournament schedule for the restart of the tour which is why we will go separate ways! Thanks Donna for the last 2.5 years, it was a great ride and I always enjoyed our time together. Good luck for you in the future. Ready for a new adventure,” Beltz wrote.

However, it appears that there is more to it than what Beltz has said. Taking to Twitter, Vekic called him out by questioning his view on why the two split. Although she didn’t comment on why the decision was made.

“Well this is the first time I’m hearing of different views in practice and tournament schedules…?” She wrote on Twitter.

The separation comes after what was a mixed start to the season for Vekic prior to the Tour suspension. In her first five tournaments she only won back-to-back matches in Adelaide and at the Australian Open. Her 2020 win-loss record currently stands at 5-5.

So far in her career Vekic has earned more than $4.2 million in prize money which is the fourth highest tally ever made by a female Croatian player. Petra Martic holds the record with $5,128,866 in earnings.

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