Caroline Garcia Stuns Pliskova As Seeds Tumble At US Open - UBITENNIS
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Caroline Garcia Stuns Pliskova As Seeds Tumble At US Open

Caroline Garcia produced a brilliant display to knock out top seed Karolina Pliskova 6-1 7-6(2) at the 2020 US Open.

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Caroline Garcia produced a brilliant display to knock out top seed Karolina Pliskova 6-1 7-6(2) at the 2020 US Open.

 

The Frenchwoman, 26, is one of the most talented players on the WTA tour. She can beat virtually anyone when she is at her best because she can hit winners from anywhere on the court.

Unquestionably, today was one of Garcia’s best days. She hit 30 winners and only dropped serve once as she outclassed one of the best players in the world.

“I’m very happy with my match today,” Garcia said in her on-court interview. “I had to play a good match because she’s a top player. Even though it wasn’t a great day for her, she gave everything.”

She continued, “I knew I had to go for it and believe and be very aggressive and that’s what I did very well, especially in the first set. The second set was tighter but I stayed calm and got over the line.”

Garcia makes spectacular start

Caroline Garcia made a fantastic start to the match. She held serve in style. Then she unfurled three superb forehand winners to earn an immediate break.

Unsurprisingly, the Frenchwoman could not sustain that level for long. She struggled a bit in her next service game but fought off a couple of break points and secured an important hold.

Even though she was already 3-0 in front, Garcia continued to attack. She unleashed two glorious winners – one backhand and one forehand – en route to an emphatic second break.

Over the course of the next three games, Pliskova worked her way into the contest. She held serve for the first time and pushed the Frenchwoman all the way in both of her service games. However, it was not enough to alter the outcome as Garcia wrapped up the set 6-1.

Pliskova fights back but it is not enough

Karolina Pliskova (@tribundergi on Twitter)

Pliskova made the worst possible start to the second set. She made three double faults in the opening game to gift Garcia an early break.

The Frenchwoman then consolidated her advantage by holding serve. During the game, the Czech revealed her frustration. When Garcia dealt brilliantly with an excellent return and then hit a superb passing shot winner past her seconds later, Pliskova angrily slammed her racket into the court.

That release of emotion seemed to have a positive effect on the Czech. She looked sharper in her next two service games and hit a few high-class winners. Despite this improvement, the Frenchwoman forged a 4-2 lead.

At this stage, Pliskova knew she had to raise her game. She produced a superb three-point sequence to break Garcia and level the score at 4-4. She won the first point with a fantastic lob, the second with a huge forehand and the third with a powerful return.

Next, the Czech held to love to put pressure on Garcia. Then she earned two break points on the Frenchwoman’s serve.

However, just when it looked like the match was about to go into a decider, there was another plot twist. Pliskova wasted the first break point with a wild forehand. Then Garcia saved the second with a big serve and huge forehand.

Suddenly, the opportunity for the Czech to level the match had gone. And when the set went to a tie-break, the Frenchwoman rose to the occasion.

Garcia set the tone immediately by crunching a forehand winner. Then she won five points in a row from 2-2 to seize the tie-break. At the moment of victory, she let out a cry of delight. And the Frenchwoman will now play 28th seed Jennifer Brady in the third round.

Rybakina, Vondrousova and Riske crash out

Marketa Vondrousova (@OfficialSFreak on Twitter)

Elena Rybakina, 21, is the 11th seed and one of the brightest prospects on the WTA tour. But she endured a chastening experience on court six as she was emphatically beaten 7-5 6-1 by experienced American Shelby Rogers. The victor’s reward will be last-32 clash with either Dayana Yastremska or Madison Brengle.

Marketa Vondrousova has had a tough time recently. She returned to tennis in January after six months out following surgery on her left wrist and struggled to find form. Then the tour was shut down for six months and she had to start again.

The Czech played in a few exhibition tournaments in June and July and managed to win a few matches. Then she returned to competitive action and lost in the first round at Palermo Ladies Open and the Western & Southern Open.

When you consider all of this, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the 12th seed lost to a dangerous player like Aliaksandra Sasnovich. The Belarussian stunned Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon and she is capable of high-class tennis. However, the thing that will disappoint Vondrousova most is the scoreline: 6-1 6-2. Sasnovich will face Yulia Putintseva in round three. The Kazakhstani beat Vera Lapko 6-3 6-3.

In another big shock, 13th seed Alison Riske was hammered 6-0 6-3 by World No.128 Ann Li. It is comfortably the most significant win of the young American’s career so far, and her reward will be a third-round meeting with three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber.

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Bianca Andreescu Reunites With Former Coach Ahead Of New Season 

How will the Grand Slam champion fair on the Tour with her latest mentor?

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BIANCA ANDREESCU OF CANADA - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has brought a familiar face back into her team as she bids to return to her best form in 2023. 

 

Andreescu, who is currently ranked 45th in the WTA rankings, has appointed Christophe Lambert as her latest coach. Lambert had been working as the performance director at Tennis New Zealand and resigned from that position to work with the former US Open champion. He had also previously worked for Tennis Canada and during that time he was a private coach for Andreescu in 2016. 

“Bianca asked me to coach her and I accepted the job. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Lambert told sport.co.nz. 

Lambert, who has also spent time working with the Chinese Davis Cup team and for the British LTA, has stayed in contact with Andreescu ever since coaching her six years ago. 

“It wasn’t like every week or every month. It’s always good to have people calling you when you are up, but when she was down I was checking on her and giving her my opinion.” He said. 

Andreescu had been working with Dutch coach Sven Groeneveld for over a year before they decided to end their collaboration in October. Groeneveld has a wealth of experience in the sport after working with a series of top names, including Maria Sharapova. 

This season the former world No.4 has won 20 out of 33 matches played with her best performance being a run to the final of the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. However, her record against top 10 opposition was 2-5.

“I’m just taking it day by day, and it’s a great way to end off the year as well, just bringing back all the emotions that fire a lot in me,” Andreescu recently told reporters in Glasgow at the Billie Jean King Cup. “I think I’m going to have a great preseason. Next year I really think I can crack the top 10 again.”

Andreescu, who has been hampered by injury issues in recent years, hasn’t won a singles title of any sort since 2019. 

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Four-Time Grand Slam Winner Naomi Osaka Named In FTX Lawsuit 

The former world No.1 took an equity stake in the failed business earlier this year. 

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NAOMI OSAKA OF JAPAN - PHOTO: ALVARO DIAZ / MMO

Naomi Osaka is among a series of high-profile individuals who have been accused of using their celebrity status to promote FTX’s failed business model in a lawsuit filed against the cryptocurrency exchange. 

 

The BBC has reported that over one million people and businesses could be owed money following the collapse of FTX, according to bankruptcy filings. A week ago FTX collapsed into bankruptcy with its former boss Sam Bankman-Fried stepping down as CEO. A massive development in the financial for what was one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world that had the naming rights to a Formula One racing team as well as a sports arena in Miami.

According to the Associated Press, the company is being investigated by state and federal prosecutors over allegations it ‘invested depositors’ funds in ventures without their approval.’ In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, it argues that celebrity backers of FTX such as Osaka should be held just as accountable as Bankman-Fried as they brought ‘instant credibility’ to the company. 

“Part of the scheme employed by the FTX Entities involved utilizing some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment — like these Defendants — to raise funds and drive American consumers to invest … pouring billions of dollars into the deceptive FTX platform to keep the whole scheme afloat,” the lawsuit said.

Osaka took an equity stake in FTX in March where she would be receiving compensation in Crypto. Signing what was described as a ‘long-term partnership’ to become a global ambassador, the tennis star aimed to draw attention to women joining the platform and she played a role in directing its content.

“We have seen the statistics about how few women are part of crypto by comparison, which kind of mirrors the inequality we see in other financial markets,” Osaka said earlier this year.

Osaka, who has won 14 out of 23 matches played this season, has not made any public statement regarding the lawsuit. NFL quarterback Tom Brady, comedian Larry David and basketball team the Golden State Warriors are also defendants in the lawsuit.

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WTA Targets New Multi-Year Deal For Its Premier Event If Agreement With China Fails

Will the WTA Finals return to Shenzhen in 2023?

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WTA CEO Steve Simon

The WTA say they are not willing to compromise their principles concerning the possibility of hosting tournaments in China next year amid uncertainty over the future of their season-ending event. 

 

Steve Simon, who is the CEO of the women’s Tour, says he is hopeful that a resolution can be found with the country but has vowed now to back down on its stance. Last year the WTA suspended tournaments in China over concerns about the safety of former player Peng Shuai who accused a former government official of sexually assaulting her. 

Shuai disappeared shortly after posting her statement on social media before returning a few weeks later with photos and videos of her being posted online by journalists linked to the government-controlled media. There are concerns that the former doubles Grand Slam champion, who has not left her country since making those allegations, is being censored by the government. The WTA wants an investigation to be conducted into the matter. 

“We’ve made a strong stand, and we stand behind that stance, and we’re not going to compromise our principles,” Simon said during an interview with The New York Times. “Clearly when we did it, we understood eyes wide open what it could mean.”
“We’re still in the same place. If they come forward with something else we should look at, of course we are open to it. But we haven’t seen it so far. I’m hopeful we do find a resolution. That’s the goal, to find the right resolution. What’s the truth? Then we can move forward.” He added. 

Simon said he is confident that Shuai is safe in Beijing but he has not been able to make any direct contact with her, despite trying to on multiple occasions. A letter reportedly written by Shuai to the WTA was posted online in 2021 saying that she wishes to be left alone. However, many have doubted the authenticity of that letter with some fearing that she wrote it under duress. 

One of the biggest impacts of the fallout has involved the prestigious WTA Finals, which is a round-robin tournament featuring the eight best-performing players over the past 12 months. In 2018 a lucrative deal was agreed that paved the way for the event to be held in Shenzhen for 10 years. However, the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before the next two additions were moved elsewhere.

Whilst the WTA is optimistic about a return to Shenzhen in 2023, there are also backup plans in the works. Simon confirmed that it is no longer feasible for the WTA Finals to be held in a location for just one year. So it is likely that the tournament would be held in a city for two or more years in a row if it doesn’t return to China next season. 

“We’re not going to continue to do these one-year decisions,” he said. “It’s not sustainable. If it looks like we can’t go back to China or aren’t ready to go back, then I do think we will carve out a multiyear situation, because we need to for the business.”

The case involving Shuai isn’t the only barrier for the WTA. China’s zero-covid policy has made hosting international events in the region unfeasible and the ATP cancelled all of their events in the tournament this year due to the situation. 

This year’s WTA Finals has a prize money offering of $5M which is more than half of what was on offer at the 2019 tournament in Shenzhen ($14M). 

Simon didn’t provide any deadline for when an agreement must be reached with China must be reached before the WTA considers moving their event elsewhere once again. 

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