Anxious Simona Halep Withdraws From Palermo Despite Quarantine Assurances - UBITENNIS
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Anxious Simona Halep Withdraws From Palermo Despite Quarantine Assurances

The world No.2 says her withdrawal is due to ‘anxiety’ over international travel.

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Simona Halep (@AustralianOpen on Twitter)

The head of the Palermo Open has voiced his frustration towards world No.2 Simona Halep after it was confirmed that she has withdrawn from the tournament on Sunday.

 

Oliviero Palma described Halep’s decision as ‘great bitterness’ following doubts over her participation in recent days amid changes in local rules. Officials have implemented a policy where travellers from Romania and Bulgaria to Italy would have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the city due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the tournament confirmed that this rule would not be applied to professional tennis players after speaking with the Regional assessor of Health.

Despite the best efforts of Palma and his team, Halep has now decided to pull out of the tournament which is the first to take place in the revised WTA calendar. The decision was confirmed by Halep’s management. Virginia Ruzici reportedly said the decision was due to the anti-COVID restrictions that have been placed on Romanians and Bulgarians.

“We found out Halep’s decision with great bitterness. Yesterday we were optimistic, and we had informed Halep’s staff about the fact that professional players are not obliged to quarantine,” Palma said in a statement.
“The Regional assessor of Health, Ruggero Razza, had directly sent to Halep an official communication explaining how the Ordinance of the Ministry of Health was not to be applied to workers, therefore neither to professional tennis players”.
“Nevertheless, Halep’s staff only communicated us the final decision, frustrating all our efforts. We are embittered and profoundly disappointed.”

In a Twitter post Halerp said her decision to skip Italy was due to her ‘anxiety’ over international travel at present due to the pandemic. The move comes just three days after she committed to playing at the Prague Open, which takes place the week after Palmero. It is unclear if her upcoming presence in the Czech Republic is in doubt.

“Given the recent rise in Covid19 cases in Romania and my anxieties around international air travel at this time, I have made the tough decision to withdraw from Palermo. I want to thank the tournament director and the Italian ministry of health for all efforts on my behalf,” she said.

Besides Halep, one media outlet has also reported that Karolina Pliskova could be another player in doubt for the event. Daily national newspaper Giornale di Sicilia has said the world No.3 is yet to make a full commitment to playing. Although no official comment has been made from either Plaikova or her management.

Despite the setback, this year’s field in Palermo will still have a strong line-up. Jelena Ostapenko, Marketa Vondrousova, Johanna Konta, Petra Martic and Maria Sakkari are all set to play.

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Fabio Fognini is planning to return in Kitzbuhel

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Fabio Fognini is currently training in Puglia to prepare his return to the ATP Tour in Kitzbuhel next September after undergoing ankle surgery two months ago. His coach Corrado Barazzutti confirmed that Fognini will not play in the Cincinnati Masters 1000 tournament and at the US Open. 

 

Fabio knows what he has to do to recover from the injury and is working very hard. He trains every day from 10 to 14.30. I am happy with his committment and his hard work”, said Barazzutti, who is also the Italian Davis Cup captain. 

“I think that Fabio will be ready in two weeks. We will work for four weeks in Rome to prepare for Kitzbuhel, which will mark his come-back. If everything goes to plan, Fabio will play there. We are confident because his preparation is going well well”. 

Fognini is spending his time with his wife Flavia Pennetta and his children Federico and Farah. “I think that spending with his family will be very positive for Fabio. They give him the strength to overcome the recovery from injury. Living with injuries is normal for all athletes, but it is not very easy. He is now more relaxed”, concluded Barazzutti

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REPORT: Madrid Open To Be Axed Amid COVID-19 Concerns In Latest Setback For Tennis

Hopes of Spain holding their top tennis event in 2020 are over.

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The world of tennis is set to suffer another severe blow with multiple media sources confirming that organisers of Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament will officially cancel their event on Tuesday. 

 

The Mutua Madrid Open will be removed from the 2020 calendar following a meeting involving tournament owner Iron Tiriac. Recently doubts have been cast on the event after local health officials called for it to be suspended due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Although the final decision was up to Tiriac and his team. It had been due to take place between September 12 to 20, following the conclusion of the US Open. 

“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez told L’Equipe over the weekend. 

Spain has seen their rate of COVID-19 cases rapidly rise since the country ended its lockdown. According to El Pais, the number of cases recorded within 24 hours is eight times the amount compared to 40 days ago. Rising from 334 (June 20) to 2,789 (between July 29 and 30). On Friday July 31st there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.

Held at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open is a key event for both men and women. It is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. Last year each of the singles champions took home €1,202,520 in prize money. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The demise of Madrid this year is another setback for what is becoming a rapidly thinning 2020 tennis calendar. Within the past two weeks China has confirmed that they will not be hosting any tournaments this year, Japan’s scrapped it’s premier women’s event and the Italian Open has been advised to not allow any fans to their event this year. 

As a result of the latest development, only two WTA clay-court events will take place after the US Open leading up to Roland Garros. They are both set to get underway on September 21st in Rome and Strasbourg. As for the men, Rome will be their only point of call. 

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Alexander Zverev and Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova claim UTS title

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Alexander Zverev and Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova took the Ultimate Tennis Showdown titles in the Sudden Death. 

 

Zverev beat Felix Auger Aliassime 19-10 11-13 11-18 18-8 2-1. The German took the early lead in the final pulling away to 9-4 at halfway in the first quarter. The umpire made an overrule decision to give Auger Aliassime an ace. Zverev held on to win the first quarter 19-10. 

Auger Aliassime took a 9-4 lead in the second quarter, but Zverev used his next point x2 card to claw his way back to 8-9. Auger Aliassime led 12-9 with a minute to play. Zverev came back to 11-12. Auger Aliassime hit a passing shot to win the second set 13-11. 

In the third quarter both players were level at 8-8. Zverev used his Next Point x 2 card to take a 10-9 lead. Auger Aliassime won both his Nex point x2 cards to take a 13-10 lead en route to winning the third quarter 18-11. 

Zverev won both points against Felix Auger Aliassime’s Winner x3 Card and took a 7-3 lead in the fourth quarter. He held his own service points to pull away to 9-3. Auger Aliassime clawed his way back to 8-10. The Canadian player did not use his Next Pointx2 card with a forehand error. Zverev cruised to 18-8 forcing the match to the Sudden Death. 

Auger Aliassime won the first point with a powerful serve. Zverev hit an unreturnable first serve to save a championship point and converted his first own match point to become the second UTS men’s champion, as Auger Aliassime netted a backhand. 

“It was high-quality. It was intense. He was winning more cards in the middle of the set and then running away with it. I needed to focus a little better on the important points”, said Zverev. 

Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova also needed the Sudden Death to win the women’s final beating French player Alizé Cornet 16-8 12-11 11-14 9-16 3-1. Pavlyuchenkova led two quarters to love, before saving a championships point before taking the win in the sudden death. 

Pavlyuchenkova won two consecutive points on her own serve and two straight on Cornet’s serve at 5-5 in the first quarter. Cornet was the first to play a card with a take away one serve option, but Pavlyuchenkova won both of those points to cruise through to a 11-5 lead. Cornet dropped eight consecutive points, but she played a next point counts two card and converted one to claw her way back to 7-12. Pavlyuchenkova pulled away to 16-8. 

Cornet earned a 5-2 lead in the second quarter. Pavlyuchenkova used each of her cards and won two of those points to take a 6-5 lead, but she netted a backhand on one of the double points. As Cornet was serving at 11-9, Pavlyuchenkova fired two consecutive winners to draw level to 11-11. The Russian player won the deciding point to claim the second quarter 12-11. 

In the third quarter Pavlyuchenkova raced out to a 4-0 lead. Pavlyuchenkova used her card to force Cornet to serve and volley. The French player won both of her serve and volley points. Pavlyuchenkova hit two big serves to take a two-point lead at 8-8. Cornet won six of the next seven points to win the third quarter 14-11. 

Cornet started well in the fourth quarter and pulled away to a 8-3 lead, as Pavlyuchenkova missed an overhead that would have been worth two points. Cornet extended her lead to 11-5. Pavlyuchenkova showed signs of a comeback, but Cornet took the fourth quarter 16-9 forcing the match to the Sudden Death. 

Cornet saved one match point in the Sudden Death by forcing Pavlyuchenkova into a forehand error. Cornet attempted a drop-shot on her championships point. Pavlyuchenkova survived a long rally on her second championships point to claim the title. 

“I love winning no matter what it is. It’s just nice. There were so much nerves. Ihated the sudden death. I practiced it, but practice is much different. Now it was full on”, said Pavlyuchenkova. 

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