Belinda Bencic Overcomes Rust And Lauren Davis To Reach Australian Open 2nd Round - UBITENNIS
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Belinda Bencic Overcomes Rust And Lauren Davis To Reach Australian Open 2nd Round

Belinda Bencic battled to a much-needed 6-3 4-6 6-1 first-round win over Lauren Davis at the 2021 Australian Open.

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Belinda Bencic (@alairelibrecl on Twitter)

Belinda Bencic battled to a much-needed 6-3 4-6 6-1 first-round win over Lauren Davis at the 2021 Australian Open.

 

The Swiss, 23, has not had much time to practice recently because she was one of the players forced to quarantine in her hotel room in Melbourne for two weeks to reduce the spread of Covid-19. And she has only played one match since September because she lost her opener in the Grampians Trophy warm-up event to Sorana Cirstea.

Bencic shows glimpses of quality during scrappy opener

Given these circumstances, Bencic looked understandably rusty to begin with. She made two double faults and a couple of errors as she surrendered her serve in the opening game.

However, she worked her way into the second game and put Davis under enough pressure to force her to make errors. This enabled the Swiss to break back straight away.

Both players settled a bit in the next couple of games and held serve with ease. Then Bencic made some more costly errors to drop serve again and fall 3-2 behind.

The sixth game was bizarre, as both players seemed distracted by the very loud noises of a helicopter circling overhead. At deuce, Bencic suddenly sprang into life. She punished two weak serves with winners to force two separate break points, and then seized the second with a fierce backhand that was too hot for Davis to handle.

The Swiss player struggled for consistency throughout the opening set, and the seventh game summed it up. She hit three stunning winners, two backhands and a forehand, but also made two double faults and two unforced errors. Despite the mistakes, Bencic eventually held to move 4-3 ahead.

After seven games that took more than 40 minutes to complete, the next two went by in a flash. Davis made a series of errors to hand the World No.12 a break. Then Bencic knuckled down from 15-40 on her own serve to win four straight points and hold to take the first set 6-3.

Davis digs in to level the match

Bencic fell 2-0 behind at the start of the second set due to a disastrous service game. Fortunately for her, Davis let her off the hook with an equally poor showing.

The Swiss earned two break points in game five with a series of excellent backhands. But the American saved them both by forcing her opponent to make errors. Then she won the next two points to secure the hold.

Bencic comfortably held. Then she cranked up the pressure again in game seven by hitting the ball deeper. This earned her a break point. However, much to her annoyance, Davis dug in and clung onto her serve.

After a medical time-out for the American disrupted her rhythm, the Swiss made a few errors in the next game. To her credit, she fought her way to an important hold to make it 4-4.

The set ended in surprising fashion. Davis held to love and then Bencic gifted her the decisive break by making three double faults in the space of one game.

Bencic raises her game

It did not seem to matter who served at the beginning of the decider. There were lots of long points in the first three games, which all went against the server, and Bencic fared marginally better than Davis to open a 2-1 lead.

The Swiss finally found some fluency in game four. She hit a winner and an ace during a love hold. Then the American made the mistake of allowing Bencic back into her next service game from 30-0 up and the World No.12 punished her by hitting a forehand winner on break point to establish a 4-1 lead.

Davis looked on course to reduce the deficit when she hit three winners at the start of game six. But Bencic responded in the best possible way with two aces and two winners to turn it around and hold serve.

By this stage, the Swiss player had her confidence back. She cracked three more winners to earn a break point. Then she benefitted from a Davis double fault to seal victory.

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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Why Ash Barty Isn’t Staying At The Olympic Village In Tokyo

The two-time Grand Slam champion has opted to stay at an alternate venue heading into the Games.

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Ashleigh Barty (AUS) playing against Angelique Kerber (GER) in the semi-final of the Ladies' Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 10 Thursday 08/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

Ash Barty will prepare for her debut at the Olympic Games by staying at a base located outside of the athletes village as part of her ‘performance plan.’

 

The world No.1 heads into Tokyo as one of the favourites for gold following her triumph at Wimbledon where she defeated Karolina Pliskova in the final. She is one of six top 10 players set to play in the women’s singles tournament which will start on Saturday.

Leading up to the Games, the head of the Australian Olympic delegation has told reporters that Barty’s decision not to stay in the village will enhance her gold medal chances. In previous Games athletes have stayed outside of the villages but this year it is more challenging to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tokyo is currently in a state of emergency and fans are banned from attending the event amid fears of the virus spreading if they do so.

“Ash is staying elsewhere,” chef de mission Ian Chesterman told the Australian Associated Press.
“We have a number of athletes staying outside the village. We allow that, it’s just what works best for them.
“Something I’ve always been very big on is driving performance takes a whole lot of flexible decisions, flexible options.
“In terms of her performance plan, it’s best served by her being able to control her environment and we respect that.”

The exact location of Barty’s base has not been disclosed but it is near to the village where she was said to have visited and had a cup of coffee on Tuesday morning.

She is staying in an Australian environment where she can still easily access the village,” Chesterman stated.

The 25-year-old is bidding to become only the second Australian in history to win a medal in the women’s singles at the Olympics. The first was Alicia Molik who claimed a bronze medal back in 2004.

During a recent interview with The ITF, Barty said playing at the event is a dream come true for her as she describes representing her country as the ‘highest honour.’

“Being an Olympian has always been a dream of mine as a kid, I think representing your country is the highest honour,” Barty told the ITF.
“For an Aussie it’s the best thing you can do and I can’t wait to have an opportunity to wear the green and gold.
“You’re playing for something bigger than yourself. You’re playing to represent your nation. You’re playing to make people proud and that’s not just with results it’s with your attitude.”

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Bianca Andreescu pulls out of Tokyo Olympics

The world number five has officially pulled out of the Olympics in Tokyo stating reasons due to the ongoing pandemic situation.

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Bianca Andreescu will not be making the trip to Tokyo to play in the Olympics after withdrawing due to the current pandemic situation.

 

The former US Open champion issued a statement concerning what she describes as a ‘difficult decision.’ Andreescu is the latest top name to pull out of the Olympics. Last week Nick Kyrgios also said he wouldn’t be playing for similar reasons. Due to a a surge of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, the city has gone into a state of emergency which prompted organisers to ban spectators from attending Olympic events in the city. Athletes will be subjected to tough restrictions during their time at the event, as well as regular testing.

” I would like to inform you that I have made the very difficult decision to not play in the Tokyo Olympics later this month,” Andreescu wrote on Instagram. “I have been dreaming of representing Canada at the Olympics since I was a little girl but with all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know that deep in my heart, this is the right decision to make for myself. I look forward to representing Canada in future Fed Cup ties, and competing at the 2024 Olympics in Paris! “

The Canadian hasn’t played since losing in the first round of Wimbledon to Alize Cornet of France and most recently split with her coach Sylvain Brunneau after a four-year partnership.

Her 2021 season has been up and down starting in Australia where she lost in the second round before making the semifinals at the Phillips Island Trophy event. She then made the final at the Miami Open before taking a fall in the final against Ash Barty and was forced to retire due to injury.

Then the clay-court season came and Andreescu tested positive for Covid. She was forced to miss events in Madrid and Rome, so she headed to Strasbourg for some preparation before the French Open. The world No.5 won two matches in Strasbourg before pulling out due to an ab injury. She then lost in the first round of the French Open.

The Canadian moved on to the grass-court season heading to Berlin but again would get upset in the first round by Alize Cornet before winning one round in Eastbourne and losing to Anett Kontaveit.

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