WTA Boss Says 50/50 If China Hosts Tennis Tournaments, But Chances Are Fading - UBITENNIS
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WTA Boss Says 50/50 If China Hosts Tennis Tournaments, But Chances Are Fading

A new notice issued by the Beijing local authority has cast doubt over the chances of tennis tournaments taking place in the city this year.

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The head of the WTA Tour has admitted that he is unsure himself if China will allow any tennis tournaments to take place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Steve Simon has said he believes a clearer picture of the situation will emerge within the next two weeks in what will be a critical decision for women’s tennis. Under the revised WTA calendar, seven events have been scheduled to take place in China, including the season-ending WTA Finals. Doubts over those events started after China’s General Administration of Sport (GAS), which is the highest sporting body in the country, recommended that no international sporting events take place in 2020 unless they are related to the Olympics.

The proposal from GAS is part of efforts to control and prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 in the country where the virus originated from. However, the WTA remains optimistic that the recommendation can be adjusted for some of their events to take place. Saying that no final decision has been made.

“I think we’ll know next two weeks whether we’ll be able to play in China or not,” Simon told The National.
“We certainly hope that we do. We’ve had conversations with the governmental entities within China and they’re obviously looking at a much bigger picture than just tennis, which we have to respect and we do respect. I don’t know whether we’ll be there or not, I think it’s 50-50 right now.”

Despite the positive thinking, a fresh blow has been dealt to tennis events hoping to be hosted in the country’s capital of Beijing. On Tuesday the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports issued an updated notice saying low risk areas are allowed to have up to 500 people attend sporting events. Any more has to be reviewed by the local government. However, the notice goes on to say that ‘no other international sports events will be held except for the test events of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games in 2020.’ Interestingly the wording of the statement says the staging of no international events is based on ‘requirements’ as opposed to what was originally assumed to be a recommendation.

Should these guidelines remain unchanged, the China Open set to start on October 12th will be scrapped. The event is classed as a premier event and had a prize money pool of $8,285,274 in 2019.

Should the worse case happen and no Chinese WTA events take place in 2020, only three tournaments are currently on the calendar from October onwards. Meanwhile, the ATP Tour is yet to publish their planned calendar for the final quarter of this season.

 

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Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo

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Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117  Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2. 

 

Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2. 

Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets. 

Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco. 

Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point. 

Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games. 

Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance. 

“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi. 

Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open. 

The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai. 

Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006. 

“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit. 

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The Rome men’s Masters 1000 tournament could be expanded to 96 players

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The Internazionali BNL d’Italia di Rome will be the only Masters 1000 tournament on clay in 2020 after the Madrid Mutua Open was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

Italian Tennis Federation Angelo Binaghi has announced to Italian Press Agency ANSA that the men’s tournament could be expanded from 64 to 96 players and the tournament will be extended to ten days. The 32-seeded players receive a walk-through in the round one. 

Binaghi announced that the ATP approached the Italian Tennis Federation with an expansion proposal and offered to cover the extra prize money. 

The expansion proposal so far does not include the WTA Tour. This means the women’s Rome tournament would remain a 64-player draw. 

Italian government has contained the spread of the coronavirus with a strict lockdown from March to May. Italy registers 200 to 300 cases every day. Many of these cases are imported by migrants or returning workers. 

Last month the Italian government’s technical and scientific committee rejected the FIT’s plan to have up to 170000 spectators daily at the Foro Italico. 

However, Binaghi still hopes that a limited number of spectators wiil attend the famous Italian tournament. 

“We will discuss it following the next government decree. If we are given the chance to open the tournament to fans then it’s a possibility we want to take advantage of. Otherwise, with only more costs, we won’t be able to sustain it. It’s a big chance to show the world how well we can organize a big tournament. The fact that Madrid is no longer being played opens a big door for us”, said Binaghi. 

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova skips the US Open

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Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova has decided to skip the US Open. The Russian player wrote a post on her Instagram account.

 

“I have been thinking a lot and decided not to play at the US Open. It was not easy because I hadn’t missed any Grand Slam in my entire career. Tennis is everything for me. The main reason is insecurity. The US Open does not guarantee any guarantees. I don’t feel comfortable to travel to the USA in such circumstances. I thank the USTA and the WTA that give a chance to play. From this moment, every player is on his own. My team and I have decided it would be for the best not to participate”, said Pavlyuchenkova. 

Pavlyuchenkova has joined the list of players, who have decided to miss the US Open. The list includes Nick Kygios, Rafael Nadal and Ashleigh Barty. More players are expected to make a final decision on travelling to the USA for the Western and Southern Open and the US Open in the coming weeks. 

Pavlyuchenkova advanced to the quarter finals at last January’s Australian Open and reached her career-high of world number 13 in the WTA singles ranking in July 2011. She is currently ranked world number 30 and claimed twelve singles and five doubles titles on the WTA Tour, including her biggest title at the Open GDF Suez and the Moscow Kremlin Cup in 2014. She got through to a Grand Slam quarter final six times and reached the top eight at least once in all four Grand Slam tournaments in singles and doubles. 

Last weekend Pavlyuchenkova won the Ultimate Tennis Showdown near Nice in the tournament organized by Patrick Mouratoglou. 

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