Australian Open Qualifying Heads To The Middle East As Player Field Is Revelled - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open Qualifying Heads To The Middle East As Player Field Is Revelled

The upcoming event will be a historic one for tennis.

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For the first time in Australian Open history the qualifying tournament for the ‘Happy Slam’ will not be held in the country.

 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine process those arriving in Australia have to go through, officials have sought the help of two other countries to stage their events. The Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha will be home to the men’s tournament. First opened in 1992, the venue usually holds the Qatar Open (ATP 250) which will not be taking place in 2021.

It’s our pleasure to have the opportunity of hosting the qualifying rounds of the 2021 Australian Open, and we are glad to welcome all the participating players to Doha. We promise them an exceptional experience which will live up to Qatar’s globally recognised reputation as a major destination for world sports,” Karim Alami from the Qatari Tennis Federation said in a statement.
“Selecting Doha to host the 2021 Australian Open qualifiers due to coronavirus pandemic reflects the global trust in Qatar’s abilities, and we are not going to leave any stoned unturned in organising a world-class event,” he added.

Among those set to participate in the 128-player draw will be Spanish rising star Carlos Alcaraz who was recently named ATP Newcomer of the Year after winning three Challenger titles before his 18th birthday. Other youngsters set to play include Lorenzo Musetti and Sebastian Korda.

Also on the entry list are former top 20 players Ivo Karlovic, Ernests Gulbis and Viktor Troicki. There is a strong chance that this could be Troicki’s last time trying to qualify for the Grand Slam after being appointed the Davis Cup captain of Serbia.

“We are very grateful to our friends in Qatar for hosting the Australian Open 2021 men’s qualifying event in Doha,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“Staging the AO qualifying event, and providing players with the opportunity to both earn prize money and win the chance to play Grand Slam tennis during this difficult time has been a key objective in all our planning.”

A full list of entrants is yet to be published by the organisers.

UAE for the women

As for the WTA players seeking a route into the Grand Slam main draw, they will be playing their qualifying rounds at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium and Complex in Dubai. As is currently stands all 16 seeds will be ranked in the world’s top 125.

Heading the field will be Spain’s Aliona Bolsova who is yet to play in the main draw of the Australian Open. Kaja Juvan, Oceane Dodin and Greet Minnen are the highest ranked players after Bolsova.

Also taking part will be a former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard and 2019 US Open semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova. Timea Babos, Sara Errani and Timea Babos will also be playing.

“Tennis players are a regular here, both for training and time off, and they know what Dubai has to offer. We are sure they will be looking forward to the qualifying tournament here and giving off their best in a totally safe environment, with all the necessary COVID-19 precautions and protocols in place,” the Dubai Sports Council said in a statement.

Both the men’s and women’s tournaments will take place between January 10-13. A total of 16 main draw spots is up for grabs.

Women’s qualifying entry list   
RankingFirst NameLast NameNation
103AlionaBolsovaESP
104KajaJuvanSLO
107OceaneDodinFRA
110GreetMinnenBEL
111Anna-LenaFriedsamGER
113KatarzynaKawaPOL
114AnnaKalinskayaRUS
115TimeaBabosHUN
116StefanieVoegeleSUI
118KatarinaZavatskaUKR
119IrinaBaraROU
120TerezaMartincovaCZE
121CatherineMcNallyUSA
122YsalineBonaventureBEL
124VitaliaDiatchenkoRUS
125MargaritaGasparyanRUS
127LiudmilaSamsonovaRUS
128MayarSherifEGY
131SaraErraniITA
132ElisabettaCocciarettoITA
133CatherineBellisUSA
134OlgaGovortsovaBLR
135Anna KarolinaSchmiedlovaSVK
136TsvetanaPironkovaBUL
137MihaelaBuzarnescuROU
138ViktorijaGolubicSUI
139ViktoriyaTomovaBUL
141EugenieBouchardCAN
142RenataZarazuaMEX
143FrancescaDi LorenzoUSA
144MonicaNiculescuROU
145NataliaVikhlyantsevaRUS
146LesiaTsurenkoUKR
147KristinaKucovaSVK
149BarbaraHaasAUT
150HarrietDartGBR
151CarolineDolehideUSA
152ClaraTausonDEN
153XinyuWangCHN
154Usue MaitaneArconadaUSA
155KamillaRakhimovaRUS
156MagdalenaFrechPOL
157LeonieKungSUI
158SachiaVickeryUSA
158 SRKimberlyBirrellAUS
159Elena-GabrielaRuseROU
160KurumiNaraJPN
161WhitneyOsuigweUSA
162CristinaBucsaESP
163AnhelinaKalininaUKR
165LaraArruabarrenaESP
167GiuliaGatto-MonticoneITA
168JaquelineCristianROU
171 SRRebeccaMarinoCAN
175VeronicaCepede RoygPAR
176LesleyPattinama KerkhoveNED
177AllieKiickUSA
178CaglaBuyukakcayTUR
179AntoniaLottnerGER
180AnkitaRainaIND
181VarvaraLepchenkoUSA
182MayoHibiJPN
183OlgaDanilovicSRB
184YukiNaitoJPN
185XiaodiYouCHN
186Maria CamilaOsorio SerranoCOL
187ChloePaquetFRA
189MartinaDi GiuseppeITA
190GeorginaGarcia PerezESP
191NatalijaKosticSRB
192MariamBolkvadzeGEO
193Laura IoanaPaarROU
195SamanthaMurray SharanGBR
196MarinaMelnikovaRUS
197IndyDe VroomeNED
198AsiaMuhammadUSA
199BibianeSchoofsNED
200Jia-JingLuCHN
201RobinAndersonUSA
202IsabellaShinikovaBUL
203RebeccaSramkovaSVK
204Na-LaeHanKOR
205GabrielaTalabaROU
206Reka-LucaJaniHUN
207XinyunHanCHN
208DanielaSeguelCHI
208 SRKarmanThandiIND
209JanaFettCRO
210ElitsaKostovaBUL
211ChihiroMuramatsuJPN
212PemraOzgenTUR
213RichelHogenkampNED
216AnastasiyaKomardinaRUS
217EkaterineGorgodzeGEO
218ClaireLiuUSA
219DanielleLaoUSA
220DalmaGalfiHUN
221DariaSnigurUKR
222MajaChwalinskaPOL
223En-ShuoLiangTPE
223 SRNaikthaBainsGBR
224EvaGuerrero AlvarezESP
225ValeriaSavinykhRUS
226JuliaGrabherAUT
227VictoriaKanRUS
229YueYuanCHN
230TerezaMrdezaCRO
231AleksandraKrunicSRB
232HaileyBaptisteUSA
233NuriaParrizas DiazESP
234HarmonyTanFRA
235EllenPerezAUS
236ClaraBurelFRA
237MarieBenoitBEL
238KyokaOkamuraJPN
239GabrielaCeBRA
240JovanaJovicSRB
241FrancescaJonesGBR
243DalilaJakupovicSLO

Grand Slam

Wimbledon Daily Preview: The Ladies’ Semifinals

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Ons Jabeur during her quarterfinal victory on Tuesday (twitter.com/wimbledon)

Thursday’s ladies’ singles semifinals are full of inspiring storylines, featuring the 2019 champion alongside three debutantes at this stage of a Major.  Simona Halep is on a 12-match win streak at The Championships, and is yet to drop a set this fortnight.  Ons Jabeur and Elena Rybakina had previously only reached the quarterfinals at a Slam, and have made history by becoming the first players from their countries to reach a Slam semifinal.  And remarkably, 34-year-old mother-of-two Tatjana Maria had never been beyond the third round at a Major, and was on a nine-match losing streak at Slams prior to this fortnight. 

 

Also on Thursday, the gentlemen’s doubles semifinals will be played, as well as the mixed doubles championship match.


Ons Jabeur (3) vs. Tatjana Maria – 1:30pm on Centre Court

These are two good friends who describe each other as frequent barbecue buddies.  They also possess two of the sport’s most eclectic styles, with plenty of slices mixed with surges of power.  But in this matchup, Jabeur is clearly the favorite.  Ons has become the No.2 player in the world, with an outstanding record of 35-9 this season.  She was a quarterfinalist here a year ago, and is an undefeated 10-0 on grass in 2022, and 20-2 on this surface since last year.

Maria missed the first six months of the 2021 season due to giving birth to her second child.  She came into this year ranked 284th in the world, yet she’s accumulated 36 match wins at all levels.  As a qualifier, she won a WTA title on clay this past April in Bogota.  And despite her lack of results at Majors, with a career record of 12-34 in main draws, Tatjana has fought her way into her first Slam semifinal, with four three-set victories.  In three of those matches, she came back from a set down.  And she also won three of them by a third-set score of 7-5, even saving two match points against Jelena Ostapenko.

They’ve only played once at tour-level, with Maria prevailing in straight sets five years ago in Linz.  But in 2022, Jabeur is the far more accomplished player, especially at Majors.  And her all-court skills outmatch those of Tatjana.  As long as Ons does not succumb to the pressure of being a strong favorite in her first Slam semifinal, Jabeur should comfortably advance to Saturday’s championship match.


Simona Halep (16) vs. Elena Rybakina (17) – Second on Centre Court

Halep has been on a tear in her last few matches.  On Monday, she allowed fourth-seeded Paula Badosa only three games.  On Wednesday, Amanda Anisimova was only able to win six.  However, both of those opponents already had previous poor results against Simona, as their games do not match up well with that of the two-time Major champion.  The same cannot be said for Rybakina.

While Halep leads their head-to-head 2-1, their last two encounters have been extremely right.  Two years ago in Dubai, Simona required a third-set tiebreak to survive.  And at last year’s US Open, she prevailed 6-3 in the third.  The big difference between the set Rybakina won in New York, and the two sets she lost, was her winner-to-error ratio.  In the set she won, those numbers were equal.  In the sets she lost, she struck nearly twice as many unforced errors as winners.

While reducing her error count will be key for Rybakina, so will continuing to serve well.  In her last two rounds alone, Elena as struck 21 aces and only one double fault.  Rybakina leads the WTA ace count this season, though Halep remains of the sport’s best returners.  And Simona’s serve has improved significantly over the last few seasons.

Experience may be the key factor on Thursday, which is obviously a huge advantage for Halep.  This is her ninth Major semifinal, and her third at Wimbledon, while this Rybakina’s first at any Slam.  Also Centre Court itself will be new territory for Elena, who has never played on this court in her career.  And based on Halep’s current form, the 2019 champion should be favored to return to the final.


Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Neal Skupski and Desirae Krawczyk (2) vs. Matthew Ebden and Sam Stosur – Skupski and Krawczyk are the defending champions, while Ebden and Stosur were finalists at last year’s Australian Open.

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (1) vs. Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell (14) – Ram and Salisbury and two-time Major champions as a team.  Ebden and Purcell were finalists at this year’s Australian Open.  That’s the event where these teams last met, with the Australians prevailing in the semifinals.

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (2) vs. Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (6) – Mektic and Pavic are the defending champions, while Cabal and Farah won this event in 2019.  Cabal Farah are 2-0 against Mektic and Pavic this season.


Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Grand Slam

(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) The Wimbledon Clash Between Djokovic And Sinner Could Have Been Better

It was an epic five-set clash but imagine how better the match would have been if both were playing well at the same time…

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Hall of Famer Steve Flink and Ubitennis’ Ubaldo Scanagatta analyse the dramatic events that unfolded on Tuesday at Wimbledon.

 

Top seed Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to oust Jannik Sinner in a match of two halves. Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie brought delight to the British fans.

On the other side of the draw, how will Rafael Nadal fair against the in-form Taylor Fritz? The Spaniard recently sidestepped a question about a potential new injury. 

As for the women’s draw, Ons Jabeur made history by becoming the first Arab player to reach a major quarter-final. She will next play 34-year-old mum-of-two Tatjana Maria who had never been beyond the third round of a major until now. 

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(EXCLUSIVE) Former Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli On Why Tennis Needs Nick Kyrgios

The former world No.7 spoke to Ubitennis about the Australian star who has sensationally been charged with assault.

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Marion Bartoli (left) pictured at the 2022 Wimbledon Centre Court 100 year celebration - image https://twitter.com/bartoli_marion

Marion Bartoli believes tennis needs a ‘disruptor’ like Nick Kyrgios in order to break the trend of similar personalities on the Tour.

Bartoli, who won the 2013 Wimbledon title, spoke to Ubitennis during an hour-long media session that took place at The All England Club on Tuesday morning. A large talking point of the tournament so far has been the roller-coaster behavior of Kyrgios during two of his matches. In the first round, he was issued with a fine for unsportsmanlike conduct after arguing with officials and spitting in front of some members of the crowd who were ‘disrespecting him.’ Then during a dramatic third round clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas, he once again argued with officials and even questioned why his opponent wasn’t defaulted from their match after hitting the ball into the stands.

The Australian is undoubtedly a divisive character. However, Bartoli believes that is exactly what tennis needs. 

 

“You either like him or you don’t. He will not make you feel middle ranged about him,” Bartoli tells Ubitennis.
“We need people like this in tennis. Some sort of disruptor with a different character. I don’t think it is good to have everyone acting the same way.’

“The limit is when you start to go against the umpire but he brings something new and different which is exciting for the game.”

Although not everybody has the same viewpoint. During his press conference on Saturday night, Tsitsipas stunned reporters when he branded his peer a bully due to his antics. Something Kyrgios denies. The Greek has also said he supports some sort of intervention to address the behavior of the world No.40 if such an opportunity occurs. 

“He said what he felt on the court and that’s fair. You just have to respect that,” Bartoli comments on Tsitsipas.
“At the end of the day we know what Nick is bringing to the court and it is not really surprising. It was almost as if Stefanos looked surprised by that which for me is something I wouldn’t have expected from him.”

Controversy aside, Kyrgios is looking to be a major danger in the tournament as long as his shoulder holds up. It is the first time he has reached the last eight of the tournament since 2014 after beating Brandon Nakashima in five sets on Monday. In his section of the draw, he faces unseeded Cristian Garin next, followed by a potential clash with Rafael Nadal. 

It was Kyrgios’ latest performance which has drawn praise from Bartoli.

“I think he has been doing extremely well this year, tennis-wise. He got a lot of confidence playing well on the grass before Wimbledon and he just loves the show,” she said.
“He loves the center stage and the way he played (against Nakashima) was brilliant. He didn’t go out way too much into his extreme where he would talk out loud all the time. It was just about his tennis. He’s always so exciting and he’s a great addition to the championships.“

As our discussion about the tennis star took place, sensational news broke that Kyrgios has been charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend. The Canberra Times has reported that the assault took place last year and he is set to go to court next month. If he is found guilty, he could go to prison. 

Pick for the women’s final

As for the women’s draw, Bartoli has her money on two particular individuals. Although it is Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur who she is tipping to win the title. The second seed is yet to contest a Grand Slam final in her career. 

Meanwhile, 2019 champion Simona Halep is gaining momentum in the tournament. After struggling with injury and confidence issues in recent months, the Romanian is yet to drop a set in four matches played. 

“Ons Jabeur is playing great tennis. She was my pick to win the Wimbledon title. I think Simona Halep has been extremely impressive, the way she won against Badosa was really quite something. Those two should be the ones going through to the final but in this year’s championship there have been so many upsets you never know.” Bartoli commented.

Bartoli is playing in the mixed-doubles legends draw at Wimbledon alongside Nenad Zimonjic. On Sunday she was one of many former champions to take part in a special ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of Center Court. 

“It feels amazing. I get to be back on center court with my fellow other champions. That was definitely the highlight of my championships so far,” she said.
”To see roger, Rafa, Novak, etc, all the lineup of incredible champions, for me to be part of that group picture was something I would never forget.“
“Wimbledon is by far my favorite place in the world. For me, every year to wear my purple badge and walk through those gates is absolutely amazing.”

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