USTA To Ban Players Who Violate ‘Bubble’ Policy - UBITENNIS
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USTA To Ban Players Who Violate ‘Bubble’ Policy

Further details about protocols and testing at two key events have been issued by the USTA.

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Players have been warned that they could be suspended and fined if they break protocol at this year’s US Open as part of new anti-COVID measures.

 

The United States Tennis Association has issued their latest guidelines to those participating in this year’s Grand Slam on Tuesday. The same day reigning champion Rafael Nadal withdrew from the event over health concerns. Under the protocols, players attending are essentially being kept in what is described as a ‘bubble’ where they will be subjected to regular testing and limited as to where they can go in New York. Upon arrival, they will undergo a PCR test and be asked to self-isolate until their result comes back, which could take up to 24 hours.

Due to the pandemic, the measures will also be applied to the Western and Southern Open which will take place at the same venue of the US Open the week prior. The relocation of the event was done to minimise players travelling across America.

“If a player leaves the Western and Southern Open and/or US Open without written permission of the Chief Medical Officer or Tournament Director, the player will be removed from competition. In that case, the player will receive the points earned from the last round completed and a financial penalty.” The USTA rule states.

Former world No.1 and US Open champion Andy Murray will be a big supporter of the measures. The Brit told reporters last week that players should face ‘serious’ consequences if they broke protocol. Saying it would be ‘silly’ to expect nobody to break the rules based on the NBA, which is operating under a similar format.

“I think the repercussions should be quite serious because you end up putting the whole tour and event at risk,” Murray said.

The punishment is even more severe for guests of players who go outside of the bubble. They will not be fined but will instead be prohibited from gaining credentials for the 2021 event, as well as being required to leave the hotel they are staying at.

There are still some unanswered questions as to what the bubble includes. The majority of players will be staying at hotels but some will be based at a private home. For those taking the private route, they will be required to have 24-hour security as part of the Private Housing Protocols policy. The USTA says they will clarify these details in the near future.

In regards to the testing procedures, there will be two different approaches based on the result of the PCR test for antibodies. After the initial test upon arrival, a second will be taken 48 hours later to confirm the result. If a player tests negative they will be tested every four days and those who are positive will be tested every seven days. If a player does not take the NCR test, their testing will be every four days.

Should a worse case scenario happen and an outbreak of cases occurs, plans have been implemented. However, the documentation acknowledges that they have ‘no guidelines’ as to what number of cases should lead to a tournament being cancelled.

“The USTA has been consulting with officials at the NYS Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene while planning this year’s tournament. We will continue to consult with the same public health officials and determine what situation may result in cancellation of tournaments.”

The Western and Southern Open will start on August 20th and the US Open will follow on the 31st.

Grand Slam

WIMBLEDON: Day Five Talking Points Cameron Norrie and Heather Watson through to week two

It was double delight for British tennis fans as Cameron Norrie and Heather Watson are into the second week.

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Cameron Norrie (@atptour - Twitter)

Friday day five of Wimbledon saw joy for Britain as both Cameron Norrie and Heather Watson recorded impressive wins.

 

It marks their furthest appearance at a Grand Slam.

Norrie, on Centre Court, comprehensively beat American Steve Johnson in straight sets 6-4, 6-1, 6-0.

The loss of just one game in the final two sets, with a bagel final set.

The British number one must surely fancy himself as the dark horse at this year’s tournament.

With the overwhelming support of the home crowd, surely, he has every chance.

And then Heather Watson, now 30, has also broken new ground.

She beat 21-year-old Kaja Juvan of Slovenia on Court One in straights 7-6 (8-6), 6-2.

The former British number one clinching a tight first set proving decisive.

Alcaraz and Sinner continue to impress

The world of tennis often looks forward to assess which players can carry the game into the future.

And two stars haven’t failed to impress this week.

Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, possibly not on his strongest surface, has performed well on grass.

He overcame Germany’s Oscar Otte in a comfortable straight sets victory 6-3, 6-1, 6-2.

Italy’s Jannik Sinner also looks at home on the grass.

After John Isner had impressively overcome Britain’s Andy Murray on Wednesday, this appeared to be a difficult match for the young Italian.

But Sinner came through unscathed in two hours and 20 minutes, taking a straight sets win 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.

And defending champion Novak Djokovic enjoyed a very easy win against countryman Miomir Kecmanović.

His opponent playing a poor first set without winning a single service game.

Djokovic winning 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.

It was also a good day for the American’s Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul and Jack Sock who all made it through.

Shocks – Sakkari and Kerber out

A huge shock occurred on the women’s side as Greece’s Maria Sakkari was beaten by 34-year-old Tatjana Maria.

The veteran German winning in straight sets 6-3, 7-5.

But it was contrasting fortunes for Germany’s Angelique Kerber, champion four years ago, as she was beaten by Elise Mertens.

The Belgian triumphing 6-4, 7-5.

But impressive grass-court performers Caroline Garcia and Jeļena Ostapenko made it through to round four with assured victories.

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Grand Slam

Wimbledon Daily Preview: Saturday Features Several Blockbuster Matchups

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Coco Gauff during her second round match on Thursday (twitter.com/wimbledon)

Saturday’s Order of Play boats many high-profile matchups.  No.4 seed Paula Badosa faces two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.  Roland Garros finalist Coco Gauff takes on a former RG semifinalist Amanda Anisimova.  And another RG finalist, Stefanos Tsitsipas, will do battle with Nick Kyrgios

 

And that’s not even to mention Rafael Nadal going for his 17th consecutive match win at a Major this season, or Iga Swiatek playing for her 38th consecutive win overall.

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


Coco Gauff (11) vs. Amanda Anisimova (20) – 1:30pm on Centre Court

This is a rematch from the 2017 US Open girls singles final, when Anisimova defeated Gauff 6-0, 6-2.  At the time, Amanda was 16-years-old while Coco was just 13.  Gauff avenged that loss last year in their only professional encounter, when she prevailed 6-3, 6-3 on clay in Parma.  That tournament was Coco’s last title run, with last month’s Roland Garros being her first final since.  Coco is 11-2 since the start of the French Open, which is the same as her current record at Wimbledon (including qualifying rounds).  She is yet to fail in advancing to the fourth round here, though she’s yet to advance farther.  By contrast, Anisimova is only 3-2 lifetime at The Championships, with this being her first appearance in the third round.  Gauff struggled significantly in her first round, but recovered strongly on Thursday, dropping only five games.  At this event, where Coco made her memorable run to the fourth round as a 15-year-old, Gauff is the favorite to prevail. 


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Alize Cornet – Second on No.1 Court

Swiatek has not lost a match since February 16th of this year.  During that time, she has collected six titles, including her second French Open crown.  But Cornet knows all about upsetting top players at Wimbledon.  In 2014, she overcame Serena Williams in this same round.  And a year ago, she dismissed Bianca Andreescu.  Alize is coming off a semifinal appearance last week in Bad Homburg, and earlier this year achieved her first Major quarterfinal.  She has a grass court game that can draw errors off the racket of Swiatek, who played a subpar match on Thursday.  In their first career meeting, Iga remains the favorite, but an Alize upset would not be shocking.  Swiatek’s remarkable win streak will likely come to an end sooner than later, and grass has been her worst surface to date in her young career.


Paula Badosa (4) vs. Petra Kvitova (25) – Second on Centre Court

Two-time champion Kvitova is on a seven-match win streak of her own, after winning her first title in over a year just last week on grass in Eastbourne.  Badosa is a solid 26-12 on the year, but she hasn’t claimed a title since the beginning of the season in Sydney.  And she arrived at this event just 5-7 on grass in her career.  Yet Paula has easily advanced to this stage, dropping only eight games across her first two matches.  Their only prior matchup also occurred at a Major, when Kvitova prevailed 7-5, 7-5 two years ago at the Australian Open.  It’s been a long time since Petra has made a deep run at The Championships.  She reached the quarterfinals or better every year between 2010 and 2014, but has not done so since.  And before the grass court season, she was only 10-13 in 2022.  Yet on grass, a rejuvenated Kvitova should be favored.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. Nick Kyrgios – Third on No.1 Court

These two men just played a couple weeks ago on grass in Halle, where Kyrgios was victorious 6-4 in the third.  Nick is actually 3-0 against Stefanos, with his other two wins coming on hard courts.  Kyrgios barely survived his opening round contest, but played some of his best tennis in a straight-set win on Thursday over an in-form Filip Krajinovic.  Tsitsipas was only 3-4 at Wimbledon ahead of this fortnight, and was on a three-match losing streak here, but has dropped only one set through two rounds.  And just last week, he was a champion on grass in Mallorca.  To many, Kyrgios appears to be the favorite.  However, he is only 1-5 in his last six appearances in the third round of a Major.  And as per Tennis Abstract, he hasn’t defeated a top five player since 2019 (Stefanos just re-joined that group this week).  Also, Kyrgios will know many expect him to win this match, and pressure is something Nick often reacts to poorly on court.  Tsitsipas is looking fully comfortable on grass, and I have a feeling he’s primed to earn his first victory over Kyrgios.


Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Lorenzo Sonego (27) – Third on Centre Court

Nadal is yet to reach his top level this week, but survived his first two matches in four sets.  He is now an outstanding 32-3 this season, and is on a nine-match win streak.  Sonego has now advanced to the third round of all three Majors this year, and reached the round of 16 here a year ago.  While he does own two career victories over top five opposition (Djokovic, Thiem), he does not possess the offensive weaponry to threaten the 22-time Major champion.  Assuming the condition of Nadal’s foot does not worsen, his form should improve as his first tournament on grass since 2019 progresses.


Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Harmony Tan vs. Katie Boulter (WC) – Both of these players already earned the biggest wins of their careers this week: Tan upset Serena Williams, while Boulter took out Karolina Pliskova.  This is a first-time meeting between the two.

Barbora Krejcikova (13) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic – Both players reached the second week of this event a year ago, but only one will in 2022.  This is another first-time encounter.

Botic van de Zandschulp (21) vs. Richard Gasquet – Van de Zandshulp is into his fourth straight third round at a Slam, just a year after he was ranked well outside the top 100.  Gasquet is a two-time Wimbledon semifinalist, though this is his first time advancing to the third round since 2016.  This is a rematch from this January’s Australian Open, when Botic prevailed after Richard retired mid-match.

Alex de Minaur (19) vs. Liam Broady (WC) – De Minaur defeated another British wild card, Jack Draper, on Thursday.  Broady is a 28-year-old who won two five-setters this week to achieve his first appearance in the third round of a Major.  These players met last year on grass in Eastbourne, with the Australian prevailing in straight sets.

Simona Halep (16) vs. Magdalena Frech – Halep is on a nine-match win streak at SW19, dating back to her title run in 2019.  Frech is a 24-year-old who defeated Camila Giorgi in the first round.  Simona has claimed both of their previous matches in straight sets, including earlier this season at the Australian Open.


Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Grand Slam

WIMBLEDON: Day Four Talking Points Katie Boulter stuns former world no1 Karolina Pliskova

Katie Boulter caused a big upset on day four at Wimbledon.

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(@katiecboulter - Twitter)

Yesterday was a much better day for British tennis.

 

25-year-old Katie Boulter beat former world number one Karolina Pliskova down in Eastbourne last week, and she repeated the trick on the biggest stage in the world: Centre Court.

She played the match of her life to down last year’s Wimbledon finalist winning 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, rebounding from a set down.

After the match, she dedicated the win to her grandma who passed away this week.

Boulter is into the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.

There was more good news for British tennis as Liam Broady stunned 12th seed Diego Schwartzman.

The Brit battled back to win in five sets 6-2, 4-6, 0-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 with an impressive performance.

Broady makes it into round three of Wimbledon for the first time.

And coming back for the fourth day in a row after fading light could not have been easy for Heather Watson.

But she got the job done, sealing the solitary game she needed to beat China’s Qiang Wang 7-5, 6-4.

She has now given herself a real shot of making week two of Wimbledon.

Iga, Coco, and Rafa through

Elsewhere, world number one Iga Świątek overcame a second set blip to beat Holland’s Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove.

Although ranked well outside the top 100, she put up a gallant fight, going down on Court One, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

The win extends the Pole’s winning streak to 37 matches.

And two-time champion Rafa Nadal had a scare of his own as he rolled through the first two sets.

But a successful junior player, Ričardas Berankis, now 32, played above his level to take the third set.

For the second match in a row, Nadal conceded the third set when two sets up and cruising.

This extended his time on the court. But he wasn’t to be denied, prevailing in four sets, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

The main worry being when more dangerous opponents, than Berankis, in all due respect face the Spaniard, he can ill afford to drop cheap sets when ahead and in the driving seat.

And Coco Gauff beat 34-year-old Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu easily in straight sets,winning 6-2, 6-3.

Best of the rest

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his good form on grass, after capuring a first title on the surface last week at the Mallorca Open.

He streamed past Australia’s Jordan Thompson, triumphing in straight sets 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.

Spain’s Paula Badosa, young star Amanda Anisimova and former champion Simona Halep are also through.

But Brits Jack Draper and Harriet Dart exited to Alex de Minaur and Jessica Pegula, respectively.

And Denis Shapovalov was the major casualty from the men’s draw on Thursday as he surprisingly went down to American Brandon Nakashima in four sets.

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