Venus Williams Targeting US Open, Rome And Doubles With Serena In Return - UBITENNIS
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Venus Williams Targeting US Open, Rome And Doubles With Serena In Return

The 40-year-old tennis veteran speaks out about her plans for the rest of 2020 amid the threat posed by COVID-19.

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Venus Williams (image by Nicole Gotwols from Miami Open Marketing)

Former world No.1 Venus Williams has vowed to return to competitive tennis as soon as possible despite having nerves about the threat posed by COVID-19.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion has confirmed that she intends to play at the US Open should it get the go ahead in what will be her 22nd main draw appearance there. The tournament is set to start on August 31st and will take place behind closed doors for the first time in history. Players participating will be subjected to numerous COVID-19 testing throughout. A move that has been praised by Williams.

“Right now a crowd would be dangerous,” she said during a Q and A session on her YouTube channel. “I really want to play tennis and go back to work like most people. I want to do what I do well. I don’t want to sit at home and not have that goal of challenge.”
“If it is safe to play I really want to play at the US Open,” she added.

Williams, who turned 40 last month, is yet to officially lay out her schedule for the remainder of 2020. However, it appears that she will be heading to Europe to play on the clay after saying she was hoping to also play at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. One of the two Premier events sandwiched between the US Open and French Open. Williams has only won the Rome title once, which was back in 1999 when she defeated Mary Pierce in the final.

“I hope so, right now there is a travel ban. It could be lifted, who knows?” She commented on playing in Europe. “But hopefully there will be some exceptions made for athletes. When I saw that Rome was on the calendar I literally cried tears of joy.”

At present the WTA Tour will officially resume on August 3rd at the Palermo Open in Italy. Then the week after the North American swing will start in Lexington. Although there has been fresh doubts cast on American tournaments after one report claims the Citi Open in Washington could be cancelled this week.

The COVID threat

Whilst Williams is eager to return back to competition, she admits to having some anxiety about travelling during a pandemic given her health. She suffers from Sjogren’s syndrome, which is an auto-immune disease. It has been reported that some people with auto-immune diseases could be more vulnerable to the COVID-19 disease.

“In the beginning I wasn’t afraid (of catching COVID-19). I made up my mind that I’m not getting it, mind over matter.” Williams explained. “I was really serious about self-isolation and lately I’m more than anything afraid of being asymptomatic. That’s my biggest fear right now and not being able to play.”
“When you venture out to the world and play tennis you do start to get nervous about that. I’m a person with a pre-existing condition and I need to be more careful than most people. Am I nervous? In the last few days, yes but before no.”

Despite the inevitable nerves during what is an uncertain time, Williams has vowed to return to the doubles court alongside her sister Serena in the future. Together the duo has won 22 WTA titles with 14 of those being in the majors. Making them joint-second most successful women’s doubles pairing in Grand Slam history.

“I can’t wait to play doubles with Serena. We just have had a blast at the doubles court. We have got a lot of success,” Williams stated. “I noticed that the thing I missed the most is playing doubles. I am looking forward to joining her on the doubles court and I just don’t care whom I play against. Who’s across the net, as long as there’s a net and there’s a match. Right?”

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Jelena Ostapenko beats Greer Minnen to reach the second round at Eastbourne

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Number 6 seed Jelena Ostapenko beat Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 after 1 hour and 29 minutes to secure a spot in the second round at the Rothesay international in Eastbourne. 

Ostapenko won the Eastbourne title in 2021 and reached the 2022 final before losing to Petra Kvitova. 

Minnen led by a break three times and served for the set at 5-4 and 6-5 but Ostapenko pulled back on serve each time. 

Ostapenko fired a backhand crosscourt winner to earn three set points at 6-3 in the tie-break. The Latvian player converted his first chance with a forehand return winner. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the second set. Ostapenko earned a second break in the third game, but she took an off court medical time-out after a fall at 3-1 in the second set. 

Ostapenko recovered by winning four consecutive games with two breaks to win the second set 6-1. 

“Grass is a great surface, but sometimes it can be slippery and really tricky. So I took the medical time-out just to make sure I am fine”, said Ostapenko.  

 “I think the surface suits me really well. The first I played on grass, I was like: ‘How can we play tennis on this surface ? I don’t understand what’s happening here, but then every year was better and better”, said Ostapenko. 

British wild card Harriet Dart battled past former Wimbledon quarter finalist Marie Bouzhkova 7-5 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 after 3 hours and 29 minutes in the third-longest match on the WTA Tour this year. 

Bouzhkova broke twice in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead, but Dart won six of the next seven games with three breaks of serve to win the first set 7-5. 

Dart fought back from 1-4 down to force a tie-break with two breaks of serve in the sixth and eighth games. The British player never held a match point in the second set. Bouzhkova converted her fourth set point to seal the tie-break 9-7 after a 88-minute second set. 

After a trade of breaks at the start of the third set, Dart earned a decisive break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The British wild card saved a break point at 4-3 en route to the win. 

Dart was scheduled to face 2022 Wimbeldon champion Elena Rybakina, but the Kazakh player withdrew from the tournament on Monday due to a change of schedule. Dart will face wild card Sofia Kenin, who won the Australian Open title and reached the final at Roland Garros in 2020.  

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(VIDEO) What A Weekend For Italian Tennis!

Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta looks back on this week’s action on the ATP Tour.

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Jannik Sinner – ATP Halle 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

It has been a memorable Sunday for Italian tennis with the country winning two titles on the ATP Tour. 

In Halle, world No.1 Jannik Sinner claimed his first trophy on the grass with a hard-fought two-set win over Hubert Hurkacz. There was also success in the doubles tournament with top seeds Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori winning the title. Meanwhile, in London, Lorenzo Musetti was unable to make it a hatrick of wins for his country after losing in the final of the Cinch Championships to Tommy Paul.  

So how much can be read into these wins and should we be expecting similar results at Wimbledon which begins a week tomorrow? 

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Jannik Sinner reaches the first grass final of his career in Halle

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Jannik Sinner overcame Zhang Zhizhen 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to reach the first final of his career on grass at the Terra Wortmann in Halle. Sinner achieved his best result on this surface when he reached the semifinal at Wimbledon in 2023. 

Sinner will face a final against his friend Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Alexander Zverev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 in the first semifinal. The Italian player converted his only break point in the ninth game and fended off the only break point he faced at 5-6 in the second set with a forehand winner, one of his winners of the match. 

The Italian player earned an early mini-break to take a 2-0 lead. Zhang Zhizhen pulled the mini-break back. Sinner earned two mini-breaks in the fourth and eighth points to win the tie-break 7-3. Sinner won the first of the four tie-breaks he played this week.

Sinner finished the match in straight sets after clinching three consecutive three-set wins at the start of his campaign at this year’s edition of the Terra Wortmann in Halle. 

The world number 1 player won three titles on hard court at the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Miami this year. 

“It means a lot. I had four tough matches to go to the final. It was a good match today. Definitely more rallies than yesterday. And that’s definitely what I needed today. I am happy and let’s see what’s coming tomorrow”, said Sinner.  

Earlier this week Zhang Zhizhen had previously beaten Danil Medvedev in the second round and came back from 2-5 down to beat Christopher Eubanks in the quarter finals. 

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