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

Grand Slam Matches Among 38 Suspicious Betting Alerts Over Past Three Months

The body is charge of monitoring match-fixing in the sport has issued their latest findings.

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The International Tennis Integrity Agency has confirmed they have received ‘match alerts’ concerning a quartet of matches which took place at Grand Slam tournaments during the third quarter of 2021.

 

Two matches played at Wimbledon and a further two which took place at the US Open were flagged up, according to their quarterly report which was public on Tuesday. The names of the individuals involved in those matches are not made public whilst the ITIA investigate the matter. The alerts are received through their confidential Memoranda of Understanding with the regulated betting industry.

A total of 38 betting alerts were issued to the ITIA during the third quarter with the most coming from matches played on the Challenger Tour (13). There were also nine suspicious matches from ITF $25,000 tournaments on the men’s Tour and another seven linked to $15,000 events. To put that into context the women’s ITF Tour reported a total of three overall.

“It is important to note that an alert on its own is not evidence of match fixing,” the ITIA stated in their report.
“Unusual betting patterns can occur for many reasons other than match fixing – for example incorrect odds-setting; well-informed betting; player fitness, fatigue or form; playing conditions and personal circumstances.”

Five players have been sanctioned within the past three months for match-fixing offences with the most high-profile being Temur Ismailov from Uzbekistan. Ismailov, who reached a ranking high of 397th in 2016, was issued with a life ban after being found guilty of offences in addition to another suspension he was already serving.

The ITIA has also provisionally suspended six Moroccans and one Pervian player in connection with possible violations of anti-corruption rules.

The ITIA was created by the international governing bodies to investigate allegations against players and hand out sanctions. It is currently in the process of merging with the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) and will oversee the global administration of the TADP from January 1st if it receives Board approval.

Number of alerts (third quarter of 2021 only)

  • Wimbledon: 2
  • US Open: 2
  • ATP Challenger: 13
  • ATP World Tour: 250 1
  • Davis Cup: 1
  • M25 Men’s – World Tennis Tour: 9
  • M15 Men’s – World Tennis Tour: 7
  • W15 Women’s – World Tennis Tour: 2
  • W80 Women’s – World Tennis Tour: 1

TOTAL: 38

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Numbers: On The Unpredictability Of Women’s Grand Slam Tournaments

Over the past four years, every major tournament has been a hunting ground for new players, a sign of discontinuity at the top.

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54 – the number of WTA players who’ve reached the quarterfinals at least once in the past 12 Slam tournaments. 

Tennis experts and fans have often pointed out that men’s tennis hasn’t had much of a change of the guard in terms of big tournament winners, generally providing the same face-offs between players in the final rounds. At the same time, the last seasons of the WTA Tour have repeatedly been criticized for not providing any champions the public could become used to due to the steady turnover of winners and players competing in the last rounds of the most prestigious tournaments. To better understand if these assumptions are actually justified, we analysed the Slam draws from the past three years (starting with the 2018 US Open) and listed all the players (male and female) who reached a Major quarterfinal at least once, in an attempt to understand the differences between what’s going on the ATP and WTA tours.

 

41 male players have reached the quarterfinals of a Slam, while on the WTA circuit the 96 available slots have been occupied by no fewer than 54 different tennis players. We can also see this same discrepancy by looking at some other stats on the number of players to make it through only once to a Major quarterfinal: on the male tour, in the timeframe considered (the last twelve Slams played), there were 17 players, while in the female one the number rose to 21. The women whose only accomplishment was to reach one semi-final are over twice as many as the men who did the same: some of the male players are Pouille, Karatsev and Hurkacz, while the women’s list includes Sevastova, Anisimova, Strycova, Podoroska, Zidansek and Kerber.

The greatest difference between the two tours, however, can be found in the number of players who get past the semi-finals. There have only been four major tournament winners among ATP players in the past three calendar years: Djokovic (the Serbian won 7 times), Nadal (2), Thiem, and Medvedev. Among WTA players, on the other hand, there have been as many as eight different Slam tournament champions:  Osaka (a four-time winner), Barty (2), Halep, Andreescu, Kenin, Swiatek, Krejcikova, and Raducanu.

Del Potro, Zverev, Federer, Berrettini and Tsistipas were the only male players to get to the finals, but there were no fewer than nine female players achieving the same result: Serena Williams (three times), Kvitova, Vondrousova, Muguruza, Azarenka, Brady, Pavlyuchenkova, Pliskova, and Fernandez. “One-time-winners” aren’t easy to find among male players, since all four major tournament-winners (Djokovic, Nadal, Thiem and Medvedev) have done well in several other Slams, which isn’t the case amongst the female players. In the eleven Slams that we’re analysing, two players (Andreescu and Raducanu) didn’t get any other important results other than their wins; in their case, if truth be told, the explanation to this probably lies in their very young age, and in the injuries they sustained, making their “isolated” wins more than understandable.

This fact should, however, be considered together with the cases of three other female players (Krejicikova, Swiatek and Kenin) who, in addition to their finals victory, only reached the quarterfinals once. The absence of continuity in today’s strongest female circuit-players can be inferred from an additional statistic:  among male players in the past three years, Djokovic (10 times), Nadal (9), Federer (5), Thiem (5), Zverev (6), and Medvedev (5) got through to Major tournament quarterfinals at least five times, but amongst the female players only Serena Williams (6) and Barty (6) did the same.

Further confirmation of what we uncovered can be found by looking into the players in the top positions of the ATP and WTA rankings. Among the men, after the 2018 US Open, the only players who reached the first position are Djokovic and Nadal; meanwhile, Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Rublev have reached the Top 5 for the first time in the past three years. And let’s not forget Berrettini, Schwartzman, Bautista Agut, Shapovalov, and Ruud, who also made their debut in the Top 10.

In the WTA rankings, on the other hand, these past 36 months have seen Halep, Osaka and current number 1 Barty pass the queen’s crown around; compared to the men’s circuit, even more players have ascended to the Top 5 for the first time: Sabalenka, Andreescu, Bencic, Kenin. There are “only” two players, Swiatek and Krejcikova, who’ve gotten through to the first ten positions of the ranking in the time frame we’ve been looking at.

In conclusion, the tennis élite has a very different profile in the two tours. It’s a difference that is bound to be reduced as the likes of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic get older: but will the advent of new rivalries at the top be able to preserve the sport’s popularity?

Article by Ferruccio Roberti; translated by Giulia Bosatra; edited by Tommaso Villa

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Grand Slam

REPORT: Australian Open To Hold Qualifying In The Middle East During Build Up To Christmas

Provisional plans of how the first Grand Slam tournament of 2022 will take place has emerged.

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It is understood that the Australian Open will hold their qualifying tournaments outside of the country for a second year in a row, according to information obtained by The Daily Mail and The Times newspapers.

 

Players hoping to secure their spot in the main draw of the Grand Slam are likely to be forced to miss out on the chance of celebrating Christmas on December 25th. According to the provisional plan, the event will likely conclude on December 24th and then players will have to travel to Australia afterwards via charter flights.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are set to be the venues which will hold the men’s and women’s competitions. Both of those cities also held the qualifying event for this year’s Australian Open but in January. However, in 2022 the start date of the Grand Slam will revert back to its original time shot and therefore qualifying will have to take place earlier.

It is also understood that the players who already have secured a spot in the main draw of the Grand Slam will also have their Christmas plans affected. Health officials in Melbourne want those participating in warm-up events in the country prior to the Grand Slam to first spend time in a ‘control bubble’ where they will be allowed to practice and train.

Criag Tiley, who is the tournament director of the Australian Open, has previously suggested that players who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could have less restrictions placed upon them.

“There will be different conditions for vaccinated versus unvaccinated,’ Tiley told The Controllables podcast in August. ‘If the conditions are vastly different it’s probably better to be vaccinated then you don’t have those different conditions.’

The plans are part of Tennis Australia’s COVID-19 protocol. The country currently has one of the world’s longest border closures related to the pandemic and is closed for most arrivals. Those who are allowed in are required to enter a 14-day quarantine or something similar which has been authorised by health authorities.

Recently the coach of world No.1 Ash Barty has said she may miss the season-ending WTA Finals with one of the reasons being due to Australia’s travel policy. Craig Tyzzer told reporters that Barty is wary that arriving late back in her home country and having to undergo quarantine will have a knock on effect on her off-season training.

The Australian Open main draw will start on January 17th.

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