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Player Withdrawn From French Open Under COVID-19 Protocols

On the eve of the doubles draw one team has been removed following a positive test.

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Organisers of the French Open have confirmed a player has been removed from the tournament after their coach tested positive for COVID-19.

 

The player in question was set to play in the main draw of the women’s doubles this week. No details have been given as to who that person may be and there is currently no information about a doubles team withdrawing from the tournament. It is also unclear if the pairing in question will be replaced by somebody else.

“The Roland-Garros tournament organisers inform that a women’s doubles’ player was declared a “contact case”, following the COVID-19 positive test result issued for her coach,” a statement from the French Tennis Federation reads.
“In line with the tournament health and safety protocol, this player’s doubles team has been withdrawn from the draw, which will commence Wednesday 30 September.”

It is not the first time a player has been removed from this year’s draw after either them or a member of their team testing positive. Last week in qualifying Poland’s Katarzyna Kawa and Spain’s Bernabé Zapata was excluded before later returning back to their home countries to test negative. Rising concerns about false positive results occurring. Furthermore, the coach of Damir Dzumhur and Fernando Verdasco was also removed after testing positive despite both of them having the virus earlier in the year. They also returned negative results when returning home.

In light of the controversies the French Tennis Federation has since changed their policy. Now if somebody who have proof of previously having the virus test positive, medical staff will now consider their medical history before coming to a decision. Last week a positive test meant a disqualification no matter what.

“The modifications of the ARS (Health Regional Agency) is to now accept non-infectiousness on the post-illness, if it is documented by a medical file and validated by medical experts, which is good for the players,” an unnamed FFT official told newspaper L’Equipe. “Unfortunately, we only received this decision on Friday evening.”

The French Open has conducted 1,900 COVID-19 tests since Thursday 17 September.

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Maria Sakkari beats Krystina Pliskova avenging her recent defeat in Palermo

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Maria Sakkari beat Krystina Pliskova 6-3 6-3 in the first round of inaugural the J&T Banka Ostrava. 

 

Sakkari avenged her recent defeat against Pliskova, who beat her Greek rival 6-4 6-4 in Palermo. 

The young Greek player broke four times and fired 28 winners setting up a match against number 1 seed Elina Svitolina, who received a bye into the second round.

Sakkari earned two break points in Pliskova’s first service game. The Greek player got the first break of the match in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and won the final two games including another break at love in the ninth game. 

Sakkari broke serve in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead in the second set. Pliskova converted her sixth break point in a marathon game. Sakkari broke serve in the eighth game before serving out on her first match point after 1 hour and 20 minutes. 

“I kept a similar tactic to last time, but I think I executed it better than then. It was just a better performance overall. We worked a little bit differently preparing for Ostrava. I feel like I did what we worked on last week”,said Sakkari. 

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Frances Tiafoe beats Dusan Lajovic in Antwerp

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Frances Tiafoe beat Dusan Lajovic 6-3 7-6 (8-6) in the first round of the European Open in Antwerp. 

 

Tiafoe claimed the first set 6-3 with a double break in the fifth and ninth games. Lajovic broke serve in the seventh game of the second set to take a 4-3 lead. 

Tiafoe converted his third break-back point in the 10th game, as Lajovic was serving for the second set. In the tie-break Lajovic earned a set point at 6-5, but Tiafoe saved it and won the final two points to take the win. 

Feliciano Lopez beat Tommy Paul 6-3 6-2 with three breaks of serve. Lopez saved a break point in the third game and held serve at deuce to take a 2-1 lead. The Spanish veteran converted his second break point from 15-40 down in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and held his next two service games to close out the first set 6-3. Lopez got two breaks in the third and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

Lloyd Harris cruised past Federico Coria 6-4 6-0 with four breaks. Ugo Humbert beat Kimmer Coppejans 6-4 6-3 with one break in each set. 

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Anett Kontaveit fends off two match points to win a hard–fought match against Ekaterina Alexandrova

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This year’s Palermo finalist Anett Kontaveit came back from a double break down  in the third set and faced two match points in the decisive third set to battle past Ekaterina Alexandrova 4-6 6-2 7-6 (8-6) in the first round at J&T Banka Ostrava Open. 

 

Alexandrova has won 33 of her past 39 indoor matches in the last two seasons since October 2018. The Russian player was leading 5-2 in the third set and 6-4 in the tie-break and served for the match three times. 

Alexandrova earned the first break point of the match in the third game with her backhand and converted it as Kontaveit sent her forehand into the net. Alexandrova came to within two points of taking a double break for 4-1, but Kontaveit hit two forehands to hold her service game. Kontaveit broke back at love in the sixth game and held serve to take a 4-3 lead. Alexandrova broke again in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and converted her second set point in the 10th game with a forehand wiiner. 

In the first game of the second set Alexandrova came close to converting her fourth break point with a crosscourt forehand, but a Hawkeye overrule that it had barely missed clipping the line. Kontaveit held her serve with two service winners. The 24-year-old Estonian player broke serve with a forehand winner to open up a 2-0 lead. Alexandova broke straight back in the third game. Kontaveit broke twice in the fourth and eighth games to seal the second set 6-2 with a lob. 

Alexandrova started the third set with an early break at deuce with a forehand winner down the line. The Russian player won nine consecutive points to get a double break for 4-1 with two consecutive forehand winners. At 5-2 Alexandrova wasted her first chance to serve out the win after a double fault and dropped her serve. Kontaveit pulled her second break back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5 with a forehand. Alexandrova broke again with her forehand in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead. Kontaveit broke back with a backhand return winner forcing the second set to the tie-break. Kontaveit saved two match points after Alexandrova netted her forehand on the first chance and Kontaveit hit a backhand winner on the second. Kontaveit converted her first match point with a forehand volley to set up a second round match against either Magda Linette or a qualifier. 

“I was so close to being out, so I just tried to stay in the match. I never really gave up. I tried to be a little more aggressive, when I was down. I felt maybe I had taken a little bit off my shots”, said Kontaveit. 

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