British Number Ones Johanna Konta And Dan Evans Stunned On First Day At Battle Of The Brits - UBITENNIS
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British Number Ones Johanna Konta And Dan Evans Stunned On First Day At Battle Of The Brits

It was a day of upsets at the all-British event in London.

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Johanna Konta (image via https://twitter.com/the_LTA)

The opening day of the inaugural St. James’s Place Battle of the Brits Team Tennis served a duo of shock results for the two highest ranked players in the competition.

 

Women’s world No.14 Johanna Konta could only win seven games as she slumped to a 6-4, 6-3, loss to underdog Jodie Burrage. A Surrey-based 21-year-old former top 15 junior player who is yet to crack the top 200 on the women’s Tour. Konta, who was playing in her first competitive match of any sort since February, dropped serve in three out of her five service games at one point.

“She is a good ball striker and has the ability to play at a very good level,” the former Wimbledon semi-finalist said of her opponent.

Watching Konta from the sidelines was new coach Thomas Hogstedt, who is best known for his work with Maria Sharapova. The two have joined forces on a trial basis. Konta also confirmed on Monday that she has pulled out of next week’s Palermo Open in Italy in order to focus her attention on the North American hardcourt swing. Her next tournament is set to be the Top Seed Open in Lexington, USA.

“We haven’t had any [WTA player council] meetings for a few weeks but everything is pointing in the direction that it is going to go ahead,” Konta commented on playing at the  US Open next month. “Just basing my opinion on all the information that is there, I think it probably will.”

Another surprise to occur at the National Tennis Center in Roehampton took place among the men with Dan Evans falling 4-6, 6-3, 10-7, to Cameron Norrie. Evans, who won the Battle of the Brit’s men’s tournament last month, failed to capitalise on his opportunities. Failing to convert two break points during the second frame to lead the match by a set and 4-2. Then in the deciding tiebreak, he boasted a 6-3 advantage before Norrie battled back to claim victory.

A total of 26 players are playing in this week’s event. The field has been split into two groups called the British Bulldogs and the Union Jack. Evans and Konta are on opposite teams, which have two captains. Leon Smith and Anne Keothavong head the bulldogs. Meanwhile, former British No.1 Greg Rusedski and Judy Murray are in charge of Union Jack.

It is the Bulldogs who are in control after the first day of competition with a dominant 9-4 lead. Points in the tie vary depending on the type of match played. Other Bulldog winners include Kyle Edmund, who edged past 19-year-old Anton Matusevich 7-5, 6-3.

“We practice with [the younger British players], know their games a little bit. Anton has an aggressive game and likes to impose his physicality. In the second set once I got the break it was all about managing it. These matches are a good opportunity to get match tight and match fit,” Edmund commented on his win.

Full list of results (winners in bold)

Union Jack British Bulldogs Result Points to winner
J. Burrage J.Konta 6-4, 6-3 1
D. Evans C.Norrie 4-6, 6-3, 10-7 1
A. Matusevich K.Edmund 7-5, 6-3 1
K. Boulter E.Raducanu 6-4, 6-3 1
J.Murray/H.Watson J.Salisbury/H.Dart 7-5, 3-6, 10-8 3
R.Peniston A.McHugh 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 1
L.Glasspool/N.Broady D.Inglot/E.Silva 6-4, 6-2 2
H.Watson B.Grey 7-5, 6-4 1
D.Evans/l.Glasspool D.Inglot/A.Gray 6-4, 7-6 2
points won – 4 Points won – 9

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Carlos Alcaraz dreams to become world number 1 player

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Carlos Alcaraz is getting ready to the first Grand Slam tournament of his career at the age of 17 at the upcoming Australian Open in Melbourne. 

 

The Spanish teenager has clear ideas about his future goals. 

“I dream to become the world number 1 and play matches, which will go down in the history of tennis. I watch videos from past Wimbledon matches of Rafa, Novak and Roger many times and Imagine that I will take part at this tournament in the future. It’s very special to play on grass courts. It would be incredible to win the Wimbledon tournament”, said Alcaraz. 

Alcaraz is currently keeping fit in the bubble created in his hotel in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open, which will start on 8 February. The player coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero wants to set high goals, but he is aware that he needs to contunue his career step by step. Alcaraz climbed six places in the ATP Ranking to world number 135 and he has the chance to improve his ranking if he advances through the rounds at the Australian Open. 

“The main goal is to finish the 2021 season in the top 50. I would like to play in the Masters 1000 in Madrid and in the Barcelona tournament. It would be nice to train with Rafa and Novak. I have already had the chance to train with Roger, but I am shy and I could not speak English very well. I was not able to talk with him. I think I have tennis and I would say that I have the maturity to face any player. I try to handle situation as well as possible and I am doing well. I don’t look at points much, I have it apart. I am going to Australia to improve and grow as a player and a person. I must not go too much. Whatever comes is welcome, but I still have a lot of room”. 

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Paula Badosa tested positive for Covid-19

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Paula Badosa Gilbert posted on her social media channels that she was tested positive for Covid-19. 

 

The 23-year-old Spanish player, who won the French Open Junior title in 2015, had been quarantining in Melbourne under the mandatory 14-rule after a couple of co-passengers in her flight to Melbourne had tested positive for the coronavirus when they arrived in Melbourne. 

The world number 67 was one of the 72 players forced to isolate in their hotel rooms after passengers on three separate charter flights to Melbourne tested positive. 

Badosa is symptomatic and has been shifted to a different hotel. She is the first player to be tested pasitive to Covid-19 after travelling to Melbourne. 

“I will try to recover as soon as possible listening to the doctors. I have been taken to a health hotel to self-isolate and be monitored. Thanks for your support. We will be back stronger”, said Badosa. 

Badosa made two appearances at the Australian Open in 2019 and 2020. She reached  her best result in Melbourne last year, when she got through to the second round, losing to former finalist Petra Kvitova. The list of players forced to isolate include two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori. 

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Belgrade will host an ATP Tour event in 2021 following Budapest relocation

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Belgrade will host an ATP Tour tournament for the first time since 2012. The Hungarian Open, who was hosted in Budapest on clay court from 2017 to 2019 and is traditionally held during the European clay-court season, will be relocated to Belgrade from 2021. This tournament was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

Belgrade will host the Serbia Open from 19 to 25 April 2021 under a lease agreement between licence owner Ion Tiriac and new event organisers Tara 16s, led by Tournament Director Djordie Djokovic, the younger brother of Novak Djokovic, who won two editions of the ATP 250 tournament in 2009 and 2011.

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