Karolina Pliskova Shakes Off The Rust To Make Winning Start At US Open - UBITENNIS
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Karolina Pliskova Shakes Off The Rust To Make Winning Start At US Open

The world No.3 refused to let some lacklustre play get in her way at the New York major.

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Top seed Karolina Pliskova overcame some early patchy play to move into the second round of the US Open on Monday.

 

Pliskova, who is the top ranked player in a Grand Slam for only the second time in her career, rallied to a 6-4, 6-0, win over world No.145 Anhelina Kalinina. A player who only managed to enter the tournament following a late withdrawal. Despite some at times tentative hitting on the Arthur Ashe Stadium the Czech prevailed with the help of 26 winners as she won 83% of her first service points. The win is Pliskova’s first since the WTA Tour restarted after she lost her opening match at the Western and Southern Open last week.

The beginning was a little bit tough and I lost my serve in the first game but I think I played much better during the match,” Pliskova said during her on-court interview.
“My game was quite good for a first round to be honest. I like this court (Arhur Ashe) because it’s a little bit slower than the other courts. I have more time to go for my game and I also have a lot of good memories here.”

The roller-coaster start saw Pliskova get pushed harder than expected. After dropping her serve in the first game of the match, she went on to win four in a row and seemingly looked in control. However, a pattern of sluggish hitting enabled Kalinina to claw her way back and level at 4-4. The underdog continued to trouble the world No.3 in the following game as she worked to two break points for a chance to serve the set out. Despite the blip, Pliskova rallied back to nudge ahead before sealing the opener with a love service game.

Averting the early danger, the 28-year-old cruised through the second set by winning 24 out of the 31 points played. Making it the second time Pliskpova has bagelled a player on the Tour this season after Bernarda Pera at the Qatar Open in February.

“It’s always tough if you haven’t had many matches before, especially after these five months,” the top seed explained.
“I was not feeling that bad about the tournament (Western and Southern Open). Of course, my game was not the best there but I’ve since had a week of good practice and I felt much better today.”

Playing inside the premier stadium at Flushing Meadows there was one thing missing – the fans. The Arthur Ashe Arena has a capacity of more than 23,000 but fans are not allowed to attend this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The first match I was like should I cheer myself on or should I be calm. I felt really strange, so the experience of already playing matches without fans helped me (today),” the Czech commented on the situation.

The latest victory is Pliskova’s 20th at the US Open and she has not lost before the second week of the tournament since 2015. It is at the tournament where she played her first and so far only major final back in 2016.

Pliskova will play France’s Carolina Garcia in the second round who defeated Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-2.

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since Kei Nishikori in 2008

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Carlos Alcaraz beat Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2 in the final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag becoming the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in Delray Beach in 2008 and the youngest Spanish ATP Tour champion since RafaelNadal in Sopot 2004. 

 

Alcaraz earned his first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with an inside-in forehand winner and he never looked back by holding his next service games. The Spanish teenager broke serve in the third game as Gasquet made a double fault. Alcaraz converted his third break point in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Gasquet earned three break points but he was not able to convert them. 

“I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players. I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and  I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It’s going to be useful for the future”, said Alcaraz. 

Gasquet was aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since s’Hertogenbosch in 2018. 

“It was tough for me to play with his full intensity. I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin. He is playing unbeievable. He is only 18 and of course he had a great future and Ijust could not play at his level and his intensity”, said Gasquet. 

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