Azarenka blasts her way into the US Open semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Azarenka blasts her way into the US Open semifinals

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Victoria Azarenka in action against Elise Mertens during a women's singles match at the 2020 US Open. (Photo by Darren Carroll/USTA)

V. Azarenka b. [16] E. Mertens 6-1 6-0

 

Former no. 1 Victoria Azarenka is continuing her lossless campaign at Flushing Meadows this summer by adding win after win to her still unblemished record.

After winning the Western&Southern Open less than two weeks ago, putting an end to a draught that had seen her unable to win a match since February 2019, the 2-time Australian Open champion has reached the semifinals of the 2020 US Open by crushing n. 16 seed Elise Mertens from Belgium with the loss of only one game.

The Belgian player was unable to hold serve during the entire match and was put under pressure from the very beginning by Azarenka’s powerful baseline progressions. Mertens could win only 19% on her second serve (4/21) and her defensive game could only sporadically contain the variations by Azarenka. “I thought it was pretty good I tried to apply pressure and make some variations – said the player from Belarus during the post-match on-court interview with Darren Cahill from ESPN – I made the court really big today, which worked really well, and I moved really well tonight”.

“I saw the ball really well tonight, I saw it right in front of me, I saw where it was going, I could read the ‘US Open’ brand, probably because she plays flat”.

During the 73-minute match Azarenka made only 11 unforced errors against 21 winners, and conceded only 4 points on her opponent’s serve.

“I am really enjoying tennis now, and I have never really enjoyed it before – confessed Victoria – I thought it was just a job and I was happy only when I was winning. Now nothing bothers me and I can truly say I can feel the moment and enjoy it”.

During her time in New York, Azarenka is staying in her house where she can spend time in the garden with her son Leo, 3, and where her mother cooks meals in the evening. “I usually love walking in the city, exploring and finding new coffee shops, but this year is not like that. I am sure I’ll get to see New York later”.

In the semifinal she will find Serena Williams, whom she has faced 22 times in her career, winning only on four occasions. “It’s such an amazing opportunity play someone I respect a lot, also as my friend. I know it will be fun for me, I hope it will be fun for the fans”.

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Rafael Nadal joins star-studded Rotterdam field

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World number 2 and 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will return to Rotterdam to play at the 48th edition of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament from 1 to 7 March 2021. 

 

Nadal joins a star-studded line-up which already features 2020 ATP Finals champion Danil Medvedev three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori, 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion and 2020 Sofia ATP 250 Tour winner Jannik Sinner. 

Nadal made his debut in Rotterdam in 2008 but he lost to Italy’s Andreas Seppi in the second round. One year later the Spanish legend lost to Andy Murray in the final. 

Nadal claimed his 13th Roland Garros title and his 20th Grand Slam trophy last year tying Roger Federer for most Grand Slam men’s singles titles. He was ranked in top 10 for record 800 consecutive weeks from 25 April 2003, including 209 total weeks as World number 1 following 160 consecutive weeks as world number 2. He earned his 1000th career win in Paris 2020 and boasts most ATP Masters 1000 match victories (389) and second most titles, including 11 in Monte-Carlo, 9 in Rome and 5 in Madrid. He joined André Agassi as the first to male players to complete career Grand Slam and win Olympic gold medals in singles in Beijing 2008 and in doubles in Rio de Janeiro 2016 alongside his compatriot Marc Lopez.   

“What applied to his debut in 2008 in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, still applies. Rafa is again in second place in the ATP Rankings. That shows how unique it is. Non-stop in the top 10 since April 2005. There is no one who will be close to this, or will match him for a long time to come. We had annual contact about him playing in Rotterdam, but it did not fit into the schedule. Now that the season looks different in terms of planning, he was open to coming back to Rotterdam. Of course we seized the opportunity. It would be great if we could add to our Ring of Champions next March. It’s no secret that Nadal is one of my all-time favourite players. The intensity he brings to the court is unparalled. His fighting spirit in combination with his unique technique is an example for everyone. The fact that he returns to Rotterdam after so many years makes it extra special, of course”, said Tournament Director and former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek. 

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina decides to skip the Australian Open

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina decided to skip the Australian Open after being tested to covid-19. Fokina is asymptomatic, while his coach had minor symptoms. The young Spanish player should have faced 14 days of quarantine before training for three days ahead of the Australian Open, but decided to focus on the European Indoor tournaments. His season will start with two Challenger tournaments. Davidovich Fokina reached the semifinal in Estoril in 2019 as qualifier and the fourth round at the US Open in 2020 at the age of 21. 

 

“My coach and I tested positive to Covid-19 14 days ago and could not get on our plane to Melbourne last Thursday. Jorge had minor symptoms and I was practically asymptomatic. We have thought that even with the possibility of travelling in the next three days, having to do another 14-day quarantine, training three days and playing to the best of five sets could be dangerous and harmful for the rest of the season because the probability of injury is very high. We will try to obtain some wild cards to play at two challengers and start getting the rhythm and shape to face the European Indoor Tour the best way possible. On one hand I feel very sad because I am missing the first Grand Slam of the year but on the other hand I am glad that we have confronted the virus without any complications and I am ready to start training and competing again”, wrote Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on his twitter account. 

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Monte-Carlo postpones the ticket sales for the 2021 edition

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The uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic in Europe forced the tournament management of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters to postpone the start of the ticket sales for the 2021 edition scheduled from 11 to 18 April 2021. 

 

This decision affects Italian and French tennis fans. A large part of the crowd who attend the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters comes from France and Italy. 

The management of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters confirmed that the tournament will be held with a partial presence of the crowd. The 2020 edition of the monegasque tournament was cancelled. 

The tournament management published this brief announcment on its official website: 

“Dear viewers, we remind you that the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters will take place from 10 to 16 April 2021, no doubt with limited public access. Unfortanetely, given the current unfavourable health situation, the opening of our ticket office, which we hoped to keep on 19th January, must be postponed. In any case, we hope to be able to give you positive news shortly, and at the moment we invite to consult our website and our social networks for up-to-date information. We remain confident that we will be able to welcome you to the Monte-Carlo Country Club from 10 April 2021, for the 114th edition of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters”. 

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