Simona Halep ‘Happy To Be Back’ Amid Uncertainty Over US Open Plans - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep ‘Happy To Be Back’ Amid Uncertainty Over US Open Plans

The Romanian still has reservations about her future plans after taking her first international flight in five months.

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World No.2 Simona Halep admits the prospect of travelling from Europe to America will be ‘mentally tough’ as she ponders whether or not to play at the US Open.

 

The reigning Wimbledon champion is set to return to competitive tennis in the Czech Republic where she will play her first tournament in five months at the Prague Open. Halep was originally due to make her return in Palermo but withdrew from the event due to ‘travelling anxiety’ despite being assured she wouldn’t have to go through quarantine. Speculation has mounted in recent weeks about if the Romanian would travel to the US Open later this year with the 28-year-old confirming she will make her final decision after Prague.

“I haven’t made the final decision yet,” AFP quoted Halep as telling reporters during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“The travelling from Europe is a little bit tough with changing flights — we don’t have straight flights — so it’s going to be tough for me personally, mentally,” she told a video conference.
“I don’t want to put myself into that stress. As I said I haven’t decided yet, but the conditions are tough for me at this moment.”

Three members of the top 10 on the women’s Tour have already pulled out of the New York major, which will be played behind closed doors for the first time in history. Ash Barty, Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina have all withdrawn from the major due to concerns. In comparison, only one member of the top 10 on the men’s Tour, Rafael Nadal, has withdrawn specifically related to COVID-19 concerns.

Prague is Halep’s first international trip after being in lockdown in Romania since February. A country which reported 1,378 new coronavirus cases and 50 new related deaths on Friday in what was their highest 24-hour figure since the pandemic began.

“I’m a bit nervous but things are very controlled here and very safe so I feel safe,” she said upon arrival in the Czech capital.
“I’m happy to be back, I’m happy to be healthy.”

It will be double duty for Halep in Prague. Besides being the top seed in the singles draw, she will also be playing the doubles alongside local favourite Barbora Strycova. Who reached the semi-final of Wimbledon last year before losing to Serena Williams. It is the first time ever the two are playing alongside each other on the Tour.

“I’m sure we will have fun. I’m sure that she will understand if I miss easy balls at the net, and I hope we’ll enjoy it.” Halep commented on their collaboration.

Halep will start her singles campaign against Slovenia’s Polona Hercog.

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WIMBLEDON: Day Six Talking Points world no.1 Iga Świątek left stunned by Alizé Cornet

Alize Cornet shocking Iga Swiatek was one of many eventful things that happened on day six of Wimbledon.

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(@AlizeCornet - Twitter)

Saturday at Wimbledon was extremely eventful, to say the least.

 

Let’s start with Poland’s Iga Świątek who was riding high on a 37-match unbeaten streak.

She was the favourite going into her third-round encounter with veteran Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet.

But she went down meekly in straight sets 6-4, 6-2.

Having dominated the WTA Tour in 2022 since the announcement of then world number one, Ash Barty’s retirement.

This loss came as a shock to the tennis world.

For Cornet, she experienced euphoria at Wimbledon 2014 when she stunned then world number one Serena Williams on Court One.

And on the very same court, at the very same venue, Cornet’s golden moment came again.

The 31-year-old will play Australia’s Ajla Tomljanović next, who herself shocked last year’s French Open champion Barbora Krejčíková.

She beat the Czech in straight sets 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Bad tempered Kyrgios sees off Tsitsipas

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios could see himself fortunate to still be involved in this year’s championships, after this week’s spitting incident with a fan.

He was again at the centre of more controversy against Stefanos Tsitsipas, as he abused umpire Damien Dumusois with a barrage of criticism and abuse.

The Frenchman was within his rights to punish the Australian, but didn’t.

Meanwhile, the Greek went down in four sets 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (9-7).

And after the match, Tsitsipas called his counterpart “an evil person” and a “bully” and that “something needs to be done about him.”

Rafa cruises through, but Brits crash out

Spain’s Rafa Nadal, a two-time champion at Wimbledon, continues his quest to add a third to his trophy cabinet.

As well as a 23rd Grand Slam, and even more significantly, perhaps realise an unprecedented dream of winning the calendar Grand Slam.

Having won this year’s Australian and French Open’s, Rafa’s hopes are still alive.

He downed Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego in a convincing straight sets triumph, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

Next up for the Spaniard is the in-form grass-courter Botic van de Zandschulp who reached the semi-finals at Queen’s.

Elsewhere, Liam Broady went down to Australian Alex de Minaur in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. 7-5.

And Katie Boulter disappointed against Serena’s conqueror Harmony Tan, losing 6-1, 6-1.

On Centre Court, Amanda Anisimova stunned fellow American Coco Gauff, winning 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-1.

And Simona Halep is also through.

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(VIDEO) Nick Kyrgios And Stefanos Tsitsipas’ Controversial Contest Headlines Day Six At Wimbledon

Ubaldo Scanagatta dissects Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas’ controversial third round contest.

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Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta reviews day six as Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas were involved in a dramatic match on Court One with Kyrgios winning in four sets. There was also the exit of world number one Iga Swiatek, who’s 37 match winning streak came to an end and there was victory for Rafael Nadal as he cruised into the second week. Below is a video of Ubaldo dissecting play on day six at Wimbledon:

 

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Wimbledon Daily Preview: The First Sunday of Wimbledon is No Longer A Day of Rest

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A look at the grounds of The All England Club (twitter.com/wimbledon)

Historically, tradition has dictated the first Sunday of Wimbledon sees no play.  But that changes this year, with fourth round singles matches spread across Sunday and Monday.  This marks the end of Manic Monday, when those matches were all scheduled on the second Monday of the tournament.

 

Sunday’s schedule is headlined by a clash between two top 10 seeds, who are also two of the sport’s fastest rising stars, as Carlos Alcaraz takes on Jannik Sinner.  Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic looks to extend his 24-match win streak at Wimbledon against Tim van Rijthoven, who is an undefeated 8-0 at tour level this past month.  And in what should be a matchup full of guile and finesse, Ons Jabeur faces Elise Mertens.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s five most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Sunday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.


Frances Tiafoe (23) vs. David Goffin – Second on No.2 Court

Both players have advanced rather comfortably to this stage, dropping only one set each.  Tiafoe is vying for his second Major quarterfinal, while Goffin is vying for his fourth, and his second at The Championships.  Tiafoe’s far-superior power game would seemingly make him the favorite over Goffin on this surface.  But ahead of this tournament, Frances was only 5-4 at SW19, compared to a 12-7 record for David.  And their head-to-head has been quite one-sided.  Goffin leads Tiafoe 4-1, which includes a four-set win in the second round of the last Slam in Paris.  The American’s only victory came three years ago in Miami.  And David owns a much better record this season (25-16 compared to 15-13).  Over the course of five sets, Goffin’s speedy defensive skills may be enough to propel him to his fifth victory over Tiafoe.


Jelena Ostapenko (12) vs. Tatjana Maria – 1:00pm on No.1 Court

Ostapenko is looking to advance to the quarterfinals or better at this event for the third time.  And the 2017 Roland Garros champion is in the midst of a strong season, with a 23-11 record and a title run in Dubai.  And just last week, Jelena was a finalist in Eastbourne.  In a wide-open quarter of the draw, where she is the only player ranked above No.97 in the world, Ostapenko is a considerable favorite to reach her second Wimbledon semifinal.  And before this week, Maria was on nine-match losing streak at Slams.  A year ago during this event, Tatjana was giving birth to her second child.  But she’s returned to the tour with a vengeance in 2022, accumulating 34 match wins at all levels.  Her game is well-suited for grass, and she upset Maria Sakkari in the last round.  In their first career meeting, Ostapenko’s current form and aggressive groundstrokes make her the favorite.  But her game can also be quite unreliable, and Jelena can rack up unforced errors in large bunches.  If she does, a Maria upset is entirely possible.


Carlos Alcaraz (5) vs. Jannik Sinner (10) – Second on Centre Court

19-year-old Alcaraz and 20-year-old Sinner are extremely inexperienced on this surface.  Before this tournament, Carlos had only played two matches on grass, while Jannik was 0-4 in the main draw of grass court events.  Yet both have proven this week that they are formidable opposition on this surface.  Alcaraz survived a tight five-setter in the first round against Jan-Lennard Struff, and Sinner earned wins over both Stan Wawrinka and John Isner.  They’ve played once at tour-level, with Carlitos winning two tight sets last November in Bercy on an indoor hard court.  Both players are having very strong seasons, with Alcaraz owning a record of 35-4, and Sinner 30-8.  But Sinner’s game seems a better fit for this surface, so I give him the slight edge to prevail in what should be another close matchup between these two.


Ons Jabeur (3) vs. Elise Mertens (24) – Third on No.1 Court

Their paths to this matchup could not be much different.  Jabeur has only dropped 13 games across six sets, while Mertens came back from a set down in both her first two matches, saving two match points in the second round.  However, in their only previous meeting at last year’s US Open, it was Mertens who was victorious in straight sets.  Elise has advanced beyond this round of a Major three times, though she’s 3-8 in the round of 16 at Slams, and has stalled in this round at the last three.  Ons is now a two-time Major quarterfinalist, and is looking to match her result from this event a year ago.  Jabeur is currently playing with great confidence, and is an excellent 33-9 on the season.  I like her chances of evening her record against Mertens on Sunday.


Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Tim van Rijthoven (WC) – Third on Centre Court

Van Rijthoven has come out of nowhere during this grass court season.  Prior to last month, the 25-year-old had never played a main draw match at tour-level, as multiple serious injuries had derailed his career.  Yet as a wild card ranked outside the top 200, he became the champion in s-Hertogenbosch, where he defeated three top 20 players (Fritz, Auger-Aliassime, Medvedev).  And now in his Major debut, he’s taken out two seeded players (Opelka, Basilashvili).  But can he challenge the 20-time Major champion?  Tim certainly has plenty of confidence right now, and has a booming serve that can earn him some easy holds.  He’s struck 53 aces across his first three matches.  I would not be surprised if he takes a set off Djokovic, but I would be truly shocked if he can take three.  Novak has not lost at this event since 2017, and has solidified himself as the best grass court player of the last decade.  And in his last two rounds, he surrendered only seven games per match.


Other Notable Matches on Sunday:

Caroline Garcia vs. Marie Bouzkova – Garica survived a third-set tiebreak in the first round, then defeated two seeded players in straight sets (Emma Raducanu and Shuai Zhang).  Bouzkova took out three straight Americans thus far (Collins, Li, Riske), and was just 3-12 in the main draw of Majors prior to this fortnight.  When they played on grass last year in Birmingham, Marie prevailed 6-3, 6-0.

Jule Niemeier vs. Heather Watson – For 30-year-old Watson, this is her first appearance in the round of 16 at a Major.  22-year-old Niemeier had never won a main draw match at a Slam before this run.  Earlier this year in Monterrey, Heather overcame Jule in a third-set tiebreak.

Cameron Norrie (9) vs. Tommy Paul (30) – This is Norrie’s first appearance in the round of 16 at a Slam, after previously going 0-5 in the third round.  This is also Paul’s debut in this round at a Slam, coming off two quarterfinals on grass last month.  Cam is 2-1 against Tommy, with all three matches taking place on hard courts.

Jamie Murray and Venus Williams (WC) vs. Jonny O’Mara and Alicia Barnett (WC) – Jamie and Venus prevailed in three sets in a highly-entertaining first round match on Friday.  O’Mara and Barnett are British wild cards who upset the No.5 seeds in their opening round.

Nicolas Mahut and Shuai Zhang (3) vs. Jack Sock and Coco Gauff – Three of the four players in this match advanced to the third round in singles.  The outlier, Mahut, participated in one of the most famous matches in Wimbledon history, which went to 70-68 in the fifth, and also won the men’s doubles title here in 2016.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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