Simona Halep Has ‘Gut Feeling’ She Will Miss The US Open, Says Coach - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep Has ‘Gut Feeling’ She Will Miss The US Open, Says Coach

Darren Cahill has given the biggest hint yet on Sunday that the world No.2 will not be travelling to New York this year.

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The chances of world No.2 Simona Halep playing at this year’s US Open are looking increasingly unlikely following fresh comments from her coach Darren Cahill.

 

The reigning Wimbledon champion is currently the only top 10 player on the WTA Tour who is yet to formally announce her plans for the Grand Slam, which will begin in only two weeks time. This year’s tournament is taking place behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic with players being kept inside a bubble. America has recorded more than 166,000 deaths related to the virus. Upon attending, those playing will have to sign a waiver saying that they will not sue if they contract the virus. Furthermore, players who opt to stay in private accommodation are expected to pay for 24-hour security.

Shedding some light on the situation, coach Darren Cahill told Nine’s World Wide of Sports that he is yet to be given a definite decision from Halep concerning the US Open but it is doubtful. The Romanian returned to action this week at the Prague Open where she has reached the final. It is her first professional tournament since February.

“I did ask her before Prague started and her gut feeling that she wasn’t going to play (the US Open) but she wanted to play this tournament,” Cahill said on Sunday.
“It was the first one coming back from COVID restrictions and she wanted to see how she felt. It’s a short flight from Romania to Prague, but there is a big difference flying to New York.”

Cahill, who took a break from working with Halep in 2019 to spend time with his family, points out that the cautious approach from the two-time Grand Slam winner is not unusual. Referring to her decision to withdraw from the 2016 Olympic Games due to the threat of the Zika Virus.

She didn’t pick up a racket for maybe four to six weeks as soon as the COVID restrictions came in early March. She went home and stayed in her house,” he said.
“Remember also four years ago Simona missed the Olympics because she was worried about the Zika virus. She is very careful about this stuff.”

Thanks to the use of technology Cahill has still managed to keep updated with the progress of Halep during the pandemic. Even though he is currently across the Atlantic residing in America. A former top 30 player in singles, Cahill had also previously worked with the likes of Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi.

“We put a playsight camera in place so I could watch all of her practice sessions for the last two to three months,” he explained.
“I got a good feeling about how she is playing but you never know until she gets on the court. I’m doing a lot of coaching via video and telephone, but not much has changed.”

Should Halep withdraw from the US Open there will be more WTA top 10 players missing the event than those playing. On Saturday Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic became the fifth top 10 member to pull out after writing on Twitter “I have made the difficult decision to skip the US swing in New York and will return to the starting tour in Rome next month.” The announcement means that three out of the four 2019 US Open semi-finalists will not be playing with Serena Williams being the exception.

The US Open will start on August 31st.

List of official US Open withdrawals

1 Ash Barty AUS
5 Elina Svitolina UKR
6 Bianca Andreescu CAN
7 Kiki Bertens NED
8 Belinda Bencic SWI
29 Qiang Wang CHN
30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS
31 Barbora Strycova CZE
32 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS
34 Saisai Zheng CHN
38 Julia Goerges GER
44 Fiona Ferro FRA
75 Lin Zhu CHN
85 Anastasia Potapova RUS
92 Ana Bogdan ROM
97 Sam Stosur AUS
103 Shuai Peng CHN
108 Xiyu Wang CHN
118 Barbora Krejcikova CZ

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Jasmine Paolini lifts her first WTA title in Portoroz

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Jasmine Paolini claimed the first WTA Tour title of her career in Portoroz. The Italian player came back from two breaks down in the opening set to beat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in the final after 1 hour and 45 minutes.

 

“I think it’s been an amazing week here in Portoroz. I just feel very happy. It’s a big achievement for me, to win my first title. On hardcourts, it’s special. I think I was maybe a bit relaxed. I understood more about the game. I tried to change the rhythm of the game with higher balls, and I think that was the key”, said Paolini. 

Paolini beat Dayana Yastremska in the first round, Sorana Cristea in the quarter final, and Yulia Putintseva. The 25-year-old Italian player beat three top 50 players in a row in her final three matches this week. 

After a trade of breaks in the opening two games, Riske went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Paolini pulled one break back in the eight game from 3-5. The Italian broke at love in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5, as Riske was serving for the set. Riske rallied from 2-5 to 4-5 in the tie-break. 

Paolini earned two set points at 6-4 and converted her first set point when Riske sent an overhead long. Paolini broke serve in the fifth game with a forehand winner down the line to take a 3-2 lead. Paolini won the final five games and sealed the second set 6-2 with an error-forcing forehand.

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Clare Tauson claims her second WTA Tour title at the age of 18

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World number 70 Clare Tauson has won the second WTA Tour title of her career at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open this season beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the final after 2 hours and 3 minutes. 

 

Tauson enjoyed a great week in which she up number 4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the second round and this year’s Olympic finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the semifinals. Tauson won her first title as a qualifer in another indoor tournament in Lyon last March in just her second Tour-level tournament. Tauson also won the WTA 125 trophy in Chicago last August beating Emma Raducanu, who went on to win the US Open last week. 

Tauson is one of the four players born in 2002 ranked in the the tpè 100 alongside Raducanu, the other US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and Marta Kostyuk. 

The Danish teenager is the seventh player to claim more trophies, joining Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, Barbora Krejikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Danielle Collins and Daria Kasakina. 

Ostapenko won the Luxembourg tournament on her debut at this tournament in 2019 and had been undefeated before today’s tournament. 

Tauson has become the fourth player to successfully defend the Luxembourg title after Jana Novotna, Martina Navratilova and Kim Cljisters. 

Ostapenko hit a smash to break Tauson to take a 6-3 lead. The Latvian player earned an early break to take a 2-1 lead. Tauson broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Ostapenko fired return winners to take a 2-1 lead with a break. Tauson broke back with two straight return winners. Tauson fended off two break points to hold serve after a marathon five-deuce for 3-2. Ostapenko was broken after a fourth double fault, when she was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. 

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