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Predicting The WTA Lockdown Winners And Losers

Ubitennis takes a look at some of the lockdown winners and losers on the WTA side ahead of Tennis’ restart.

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Bianca Andreescu (@TennisCanada - Twitter)

In the first part of assessing tennis’ restart from a five month hiatus, UBI Tennis looks at the potential lockdown winners and losers on the WTA Tour. 

 

After a five month hiatus due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the WTA Tour is due to return on the 3rd of August in Palermo, with events in Prague and Lexington following before the second grand slam of the season in New York. Although there is still doubt whether the US Open will happen, tennis’ top stars will be making their return at some point this season, so with that in mind it’s time to take a look at some of the players that may have benefited from the Lockdown and the players that may have their momentum halted. Firstly let’s take a look at the potential lockdown winners.

Lockdown Winners 

Bianca Andreescu 

Although the Canadian may not have played this year before the lockdown, the extra time off would have benefited the defending US Open champion. After suffering a serious knee injury at the WTA Finals in October, Andreescu has been spending time rehabilitating and recovering in time for her return. Although it is unclear whether the world number six will return this year, the 22 month ranking rule means that she won’t lose too many points in her absence from tennis and can take her time coming back to tennis as she looks to build on what was a sensational 2019 season. Bianca is definitely a lockdown winner.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_A0p6jja-3/

Johanna Konta 

Another potential lockdown winner is Johanna Konta, having started the year in terrible form having won three matches from her opening four tournaments. All three victories came at her last competitive tournament in Monterrey, where the highest ranked opponent she managed to defeat was at 84 in the world. This time off would have cleared her mind and also ensured that her niggling knee injury has fully recovered ahead of the semi-final points that she has to defend at Roland Garros. The time off has also allowed her to focus on other projects such as her self-titled podcast. Therefore Jo is a lockdown winner.

Naomi Osaka 

After a phenomenal end to the 2019 season, Naomi Osaka’s frailties were there to see before the lockdown as nerves got the best of her at the Australian Open in a present v future match against Coco Gauff. This third round loss in Melbourne was followed by her disastrous display in Spain at Fed Cup against Sara Sorribes Tormo on the 7th of February. Now Osaka has had six months to mentally and physically get in shape as well as earn praise for using her voice in a positive way as she continues to call out systematic racism. Is this the motivation she needs to raise her level on her return to tennis? This break could benefit Naomi massively, therefore she is a lockdown winner.

Notable Mentions:

Sloane Stephens: The American only managed to win one match in 2020 before lockdown, serving as a reminder that much work is to be done in order to get back to the form that won her the US Open in 2018. This break could help her mentally get back on track and return to winning form

Donna Vekic: The Croatian has only managed to win back-to-back matches at two tournaments since her US Open quarter-final and as a result split with her coach Torben Beltz just before resuming training. This lockdown would have been beneficial for the 24 year-old to get back to her roots and look to rediscover the form she produced in the American summer last year.

https://twitter.com/DonnaVekic/status/1280886772180844553

Lockdown Losers

Simona Halep

Just before lockdown, the Romanian managed to win her first title of 2020 at the Premier event in Dubai in a hard-fought final against Elena Rybakina. In-fact Halep had only lost two matches in 2020, winning the other 10. Therefore the lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time especially given the fact that coach Darren Cahill is still in Australia. Only time will tell whether Tennis’ long hiatus has managed to disrupt her momentum but it certainly can’t have been beneficial to the Wimbledon champion, therefore Simona is a lockdown loser.

Garbine Muguruza

Before lockdown, Muguruza was undergoing a rebirth of her grand slam winning form under Conchita Martinez, having reached the Australian Open final. Wins over Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens and Simona Halep saw the Spaniard rekindle that hard-hitting, confident form that has seen her win two grand slams. A Doha Quarter-Final loss to Ash Barty before the lockdown gave Muguruza something to think about but there is no denying that this lockdown has halted Muguruza’s momentum.

Aryna Sabalenka 

The big-hitting Belarusian entered lockdown having won another premier 5 tournament this time in Doha having beaten Petra Kvitová in the final. The world number 11 was in free-flowing form after her first round Australian Open defeat. Ultimately this is one of the reasons why she is one of the losers of tennis’ hiatus as she now has to rediscover her momentum in tough circumstances but as we all know when Sabalenka is playing her best tennis she is hard to stop.

Notable Mentions

Ash Barty: The world number one won Adelaide, reached the Australian Open and Doha Semi-Finals before lockdown and had her momentum halted. Furthermore travel restrictions from Australia means that it could be difficult for her to defend her Roland Garros title in October.

Petra Kvitová: The world number 12 won 12 matches in 2020 before the lockdown and was arguably the in-form player before lockdown and will need to get back into her rhythm when tennis returns

 

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