Nominations announced for the WTA Player of the Year - UBITENNIS
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Nominations announced for the WTA Player of the Year

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The WTA announced the nominations for the WTA Player of the Year Award. Victoria Azarenka, Sofia Kenin, Naomi Osaka, Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek are among the stars nominated for the WTA Player of the Year Award. 

Sofia Kenin claimed her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in Melbourne. The 21-year-old US player beat World Number 1 Ashleigh Barty in the semifinal and two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza in the final after coming from one set down. 

Kenin became the youngest US player to win a Grand Slam singles title since Serena Williams won at Wimbledon in 2002. She rose to world number 7 becoming the youngest US woman to make her top 10 debut in the WTA rankings since Serena Williams in 1999. Kenin won her second title at the inaugural Lyon Open. After the resumption of the WTA Tour Kenin reached her second Grand Slam final at Roland Garros, where she lost to Poland’s Iga Swatek. 

Swiatek dropped just 23 games en route to winning her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros. The Polish 19-year-old player broke into in the WTA Ranking for the first time in her career.

En route to the title Swiatek upset top seed Simona Halep dropping just three games. Swiatek became the first Polish player to win a singles Grand Slam title. The 23 games she lost in total were tied for the second-fewest among French Open singles champions in the Open Era behind only the 20 games Steffi Graf lost in 1988. Swiatek, who was ranked world number 50, rose to world number 17. She is nominated for WTA Most Improved Player for the Year award. 

World number 3 Naomi Osaka claimed the third Grand Slam title of her career and her second US Open trophy and reached the final at the Western and Southern Open in New York, but she had to withdraw because of a left harmstring injury. 

Viktoria Azarenka claimed her biggest title since she gave birth to her son Leo at the Western and Southern Open in New York and reached her first Grand Slam final since 2013 at the US Open with a win over 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. 

Simona Halep started the 2020 season with her 20th career title in Dubai. Last August the Romanian player won her 21st title at the Prague Open beating Elise Mertens in the final. In Rome Halep beat Garbine Muguruza in a thrilling three-set semifinal and an injured Karolina Pliskova in the final. Aryna Sabalenka tied Halep for most WTA titles in 2020. The Belarusian player claimed her third career Premier 5 title in Doha and ended the season on a nine-match winning streak claiming two consecutive titles in Ostrava and Linz. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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Emma Raducanu Among Trio of Grand Slam Winners Handed Miami Open Wild Cards

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has avoided the possibility of having to go through qualifying at the Miami Open after being awarded a wild card for the event on Thursday. 

The 2021 US Open champion is among four players to have received passes into the main draw of the prestigious event, which is classed as a WTA 1000 for the women and as a Masters 1000 for the men. It will be the third straight year that Raducanu has played in Miami but she is yet to win a match there. In 2022 she lost her opening match to Katerina Siniakova before getting beaten by Bianca Andreescu 12 months later. 

Raducanu has won two out of five Tour-level matches played so far this year. Recently her agent, Max Eisenbud, hit back at those who have criticised the tennis star’s results since winning the US Open. Raducanu also missed a chunk of last season due to injury after undergoing wrist and ankle surgery. 

“The girl did everything backward. She skipped every step. She won the US Open, she went to the next tournament, she didn’t even know where the player lounge was, she didn’t know where the practice courts were,” Eisenbud told the Served With Andy Roddick podcast.
“I don’t think just being tough on her or critical on her like any other player [is wrong]. But she is still figuring it out. I just think that people should not be malicious.”

Other players to have received wild cards into Miami include Venus Williams, who is a three-time champion at the event but hasn’t won the title since 2001. The 43-year-old hasn’t played on the Tour since August and is currently ranked outside the world’s top 400. 

Carolina Wozniacki completes the line-up of former Grand Slam winners being given wild cards. The Dane was a Miami finalist back in 2017 and has made 12 appearances at the tournament. Earlier this week, she suffered a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, loss to Anna Blinkova in the first round of the San Diego Open. 

As for the men’s tournament, the only confirmed wild card recipient is Kei Nishikori who will be making his first competitive start since July 2023. Recently the injury-stricken Japanese player added Thomas Johansson to his team. 

The Miami Open will get underway on March 17th.

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