REPORT: Simona Halep Set To Skip US Open - UBITENNIS
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REPORT: Simona Halep Set To Skip US Open

News sources in Romania have said the former world No.1 will not be travelling to New York.

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Wimbledon champion Simona Halep is set to be one of the first high profile names to officially withdraw from this year’s US Open amid concerns over safety measures, according to two Romanian sources.

 

The speculation was triggered by a social media post from Nedelcu Iulian, who is a cameraman for Romanian channel Pro TV that has recently been filming Halep in training. According to Iulian, the former world No.1 has decided to finish off 2020 by playing tournaments in Europe only. Including the French Open which will take place a couple weeks after New York. Therefore she will also be absent from the Asian swing, which is the region where the COVID-19 outbreak started.

Since then the Romanian branch of Eurosport have reported that Halep has confirmed to Pro TV that this is her intended plan. Although there has been no public announcement. During a recent email exchange with The New York Time, she admitted that she ‘has strong concerns’ over the measures that will be in place at the event. Those measures are yet to be confirmed by the USTA but are likely to include restricting how many members of a player’s team can be on site and holding the tournament behind closed doors.

“I definitely have strong concerns about going there with those conditions. Not only because we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. But also because of the risk of travel, potential quarantine, and then the changes around the tournament,” Halep said.

Coach Darren Cahill has also previously highlighted the issue during an interview with The Reuters News Agency. In the view of the Australian he believes that many players on the Tour could encounter problems in New York.

“From Simona’s point of view, you got to fly over from Romania, you need to spend four weeks in this one hotel in New York, and you can only bring one person,” said Cahill.
“Normally you have a physio, a hitting partner, trainer and maybe a coach or two. You’ve got to basically stay in this bubble with only one person for three or four weeks, and you have to be professional and compete at the highest level.
“So now there are going to be a lot of players that have an issue with that for sure.”

It has been feared that a series of top names could opt to not play the US Open this year due to the worldwide health crises. Novak Djokovic has previously admitted that one option he is considering for the upcoming weeks is concentrating fully on the clay. Meanwhile, Nick Kyrgios has branded the decision to hold the event as ‘selfish’ in light of current events.

Reports of Halep’s absence will be a major blow to the USTA, who have already struck an agreement with the ATP and WTA to host the event. They will not make an official statement concerning the 2020 tournament until the plan is approved by state officials in New York.

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Marin Cilic wins his first title since Queen’s 2018

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Marin Cilic claimed the 19th ATP Tour title of his career and his first since Queen’s 2018 with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 win over Felix Auger Aliassime  after 1 hour and 50 minutes in the final of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. 

 

Cilic won 100% of his first-serve points in three of his five matches and did not drop a set this week. 

The Croatian star is not 3-3 in grass court finals and 19-14 in his overall title matches. 

Both Cilic and Auger Aliassime saved three break points in their first service games. Cilic converted his ninth break point to take a 6-5 lead in the 11th game. Cilic was not able to serve out the first set, but he cruised through the tie-break 7-2, when Auger Aliassime hit a forehand long. 

The second set went on serve in the first seven games. Auger Aliassime won 64% of his first-service points, while Cilic claimed 90% of his second serve points. Cilic earned the only break of the second set in the eighth game to seal the second set 6-3. 

Cilic will play at Queen’s next week. 

“It was a very important win. I played two semifinals and did not win a title since 2018, also on grass at Queen’s. Winning here brings out joy for me, good confidence and a good feeling. Experience plays a big part, especially on grass. The conditions can be difficult, the court plays quite quick. I felt this was a good chance for me to give it my all, keep my intensity. Even though  some games were up and others down, that was a big part of my victory today”, said Cilic. 

Auger Aliassime has dropped to 0-8 in his eight ATP Tour Finals. “Today I am not facing a final. I am facing Marin Cilic. It is two different things. There has been times when I have not played my best then I felt I was not playing well, but this time around, I felt like it was close, but overall I think he was a better player overall”, said Auger Aliassime. 

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Felix Auger Aliassime sets up Stuttgart final against Marin Cilic

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Felix Auger Aliassime beat Sam Querrey 6-4 7-5 in 80 minutes to advance to the eighth ATP Tour Final of his career at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart without dropping a set this week. 

 

Auger Aliassime did not face a break point and hit seven aces. The Canadian Next Gen converted his first break point in the ninth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

The 20-year-old Canadian rising star won 89% of his first service points before earning a break point at 6-5 to seal the win. He lost to Matteo Berrettini in the 2019 final in Stuttgart. 

Auger Aliassime will face 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who won the first set 6-3 before Jurij  Rodionov, before the Austrian wild card was forced to withdraw from the match at 0-1 due to an injury problem at the start of the second set. 

“I am feeling really good and very excited to be in the final after quite a period that I didn’t reach a final. I think this was very positive week. I have played good tennis, served very well. Considering it is a shorter season, with one week less. It was great to play this week. Losing to Roger Federer gave me more time to prepare for the week. I have not enjoyed being at a tournament so much in a long period of time, because it is the first time my son, my wife and I are together at one tournament. The set up in Stuttgart is really nice. There is a lot of grass and open space aroung the hotel for my sonto play and it is so much fun having them around”, said Cilic. Cilic leads 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Auger Aliassime. They will play their first match on grass. 

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Barbora Krejcikova reaches both singles and doubles final at Roland Garros

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Barbora Krejcikova has qualified for the singles and doubles finals at Roland Garros this weekend, as she and Katerina Siniakova claimed a 6-1 6-2 win over Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera. 

 

Krejcikova has the chance to become the first player to win both the women’s singles and doubles titles at Roland Garros since Mary Pierce claimed both tournaments in 2000. Serena Williams is the most recently player to win both the singles and doubles titles at any Grand Slam tournament, at Wimbledon 2016.

The Czech team will take on Bethanie Mattek Sands froand last year’s Roland Garros singles champion Iga Swiatek, who beat Irina Camelia Begu and Nadia Podoroska 6-3 6-4. Swiatek reached the quarter final this year in the singles tournament. Krejcikova and Siniakova have qualified for both Grand Slam women’s doubles finals this season. They lost to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka at the 2021 Australian Open last February. 

Krejcikova and Siniakova are bidding to win their second Roland Garros women’s doubles title. 

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