Victoria Azarenka Dismisses Question Over Her Health Following Australian Open Exit - UBITENNIS
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Victoria Azarenka Dismisses Question Over Her Health Following Australian Open Exit

The former world No.1 was seen struggling with her breathing as she crashed out of the tournament.

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Two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka has called for rule change where players don’t have to disclose details about their health after crashing out of the Australian Open.

 

The 12th seed fell 7-5, 6-4, to American player Jessica Pegula to make it the second time in the past three years she has lost in the first round of Melbourne. During the match there were concerns raised over Azarenka’s fitness who had to take a medical timeout during the second set due to issues with her breathing. She was also seen using an inhaler during one of the changeovers.

Despite the visible issue causing Azarenka discomfort, she declined to elaborate on what the exact problem was during her press conference. Arguing that players should have a right to privacy. At the time of her match the temperature was in the range of 22C.

“I don’t really know why we’re getting asked about medical conditions because all this is going out on the internet after for people to talk about, to judge about,” she said.
“I truly don’t ever understand that rule of why, when somebody is sick, injured or whatever, they have to give their medical reason out in the world. I think that should be changed — unless players do want to talk about that, then they can. But it shouldn’t be a mandatory requirement for people to talk about their health issues.”

The former world No.1 was one of 72 players who had to go into a hard quarantine ahead of the tournament after being declared a contact case of somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19. Azarenka admits the quarantine has impacted her form but she refuses to blame it fully. On the first day of the tournament Angelique Kerber also said the strict quarantine affected her performance.

“To try to sit here and find an excuse because of quarantine, and this is just something that, as I said, it is what it is,” said Azarenka. “I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to perform [like] I knew I could. That’s a bit hard to accept today because I know I can play better, a lot better. At the same time, I feel that I’ve tried everything I can to be able to be prepared, but unfortunately, that hasn’t worked out for me.”

Azarenka says the biggest issue for her during the quarantine was not being able to have any fresh air over the 14-day period. The Belarusian was required to stay in her room at all times and couldn’t travel to a practice court.

“I‘m not going to sit here and should I have come (to Australia), should I have not come. It’s a waste of time. I came here. Whatever happened, happened. I’m here today. I lost my match. Life goes on. That’s it,” she concluded.

It is the first time Azarenka has lost her opening match at a tournament since the Lexington Open last August.

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Italy leads 2-0 against Romania in Billie Jean King Cup Play-off

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Italy leads 2-0 over Romania in the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Play-off against Romania in Cluj-Napoca.

 

World number 111 Elisabetta Cocciaretto beat debutant Irina Bara 6-1 6-4 to give Italy a 1-0 lead in the first tie. Cocciaretto cruised through to a 6-1 lead. Bara bounced back by taking a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Cocciaretto won six of the next seven games to claim a straight-set win. 

Italy took a 2-0 lead after last year’s Roland Garros quarter finalist Martina Trevisan battled past Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-2 2-6 7-6 (7-5) after 3 hours and 7 minutes after saving two match points. The third set featured 10 breaks in 12 12 games. Trevisan won four consecutive games from 2-2 with two breaks to win the first set 6-2. 

Buzarnescu went up a double break to take a 3-0 lead and never looked back to claim the second set 6-2. 

The third set started with four consecutive breaks. Both players held their serve in the fifth and sixth games. Trevisan saved missed two match points at 4-5 15-40 to hold serve. Buzarnescu did not close out the match after serving after serving at 6-5. Both players traded breaks in the next two service games to send the match to the tie-break, which featured six mini-breaks in the first ten points. Trevisan won the final two points from 5-5 to take a thrilling tie-break 7-5.

“I fought for every ball, even if I did not feel very well in the latter stages of the match. This fighting spirit brought me the victory”, said Trevisan. 

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Andrey Rublev reaches his second consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal after three-set win over Rafael Nadal in Monte-Carlo

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Andrey Rublev battled past Rafael Nadal 6-2 4-6 6-2 on Court Rainier III after 2 hours and 32 minutes at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters to move into his second consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal. Rublev beat Nadal for the first time in his career. 

 

Rublev played his second hard-fought match one day after beating Roberto Bautista Agut in almost three hours. 

Rublev equalled the biggest result of his career on clay and reached his second consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal after Miami.

“I don’t know what to say. I cannot imagine being in the situation of Rafa, knowing that you are the best player on clay and you have the pressure every time. I think it must be incredibly tough every time. I am in shock with the way he is playing under the pressure and that is why he is a legend”, said Rublev. 

Rublev saved eight of the twelve break points and earned seven break points. The Russian player got three breaks to cruise through to a 6-2 lead. 

Rublev started the match with an immediate break in the first game, as Nadal made a double fault. Nadal broke back at love in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Rublev converted his third break point in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Nadal netted a forehand to drop serve, as he was serving at 2-4. Rublev served out the first set 6-2 after 38 minutes, as Nadal sprayed a forehand. 

Rublev went up a set and a break in the first game, as Nadal sent a backhand wide. The 2021 Rotterdam winner saved a break point in the fourth game for 3-1 and earned three break points in the fifth game. Nadal fended them off for 2-3. Rublev saved four break points to open up a 4-2 lead. 

Nadal saved a break point with a forehand winner in the seventh game. The Spaniard broke back to draw level to 4-4 and held serve at 30 in the ninth game to open up a 5-4 forcing Rublev to serve to stay in the set. Nadal claimed his second consecutive break to seal the second set 6-4  after 74 minutes forcing the match to the third set. 

Rublev got a break in the first game before wasting two game points. Nadal broke straight back, as Rublev netted a forehand. Rublev broke serve for the sixth time in the third game to take a 2-1 lead and consolidated the break with a forehand down the line winner to open up a 3-1 lead. Rublev broke at 15 to race out to a 4-1 lead with a forehand winner and held serve with an unreturned serve in the seventh game. Rublev served out the match at 5-2 setting up a semifinal against Casper Ruud. 

“Casper is playing really well. I have known him for a long time. He is an amaziong player player and every match against him was dramatic. We had really great rallies and a really great level of tennis. It is going to be super tough. He is in great shape. He finished today much earlier than me. We will see what is going to happen tomorrow. I will try to recover as best as I can and to do my best tomorrow”, said Rublev. 

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Casper Ruud advances to his second Masters 1000 semifinal

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Casper Ruud beat defending champion Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-3 to reach the second Masters 1000 semifinal of his career. 

 

Fognini saved a break point in the second game to hold serve at deuce in the second game. Ruud fended off four break points in the fifth game and held his next two service games. Fognini dropped his serve at 4-5 to lose the first set after wasting a 40-15. 

Ruud went up an early break at love in the second game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead. Fognini had to save three break points in the fourth game before breaking serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. 

Ruud rallied from 15-40 down on Fognini’s serve to break serve at deuce in the eighth game earning his chance to serve out the match. The Scandinavian player sealed his win on his first match point in the 10th game after a net cord error from Fognini. 

Last September Ruud beat another Italian star Matteo Berrettini to reach the Masers 1000 semifinal in Rome. He became the highest-ranked player and the first ATP Tour champion from Norway by winning the 2020 Buenos Aires title, surpassing his father Christian Ruud, who peaked at number 39 after reaching the 1995 Bastad final. He advanced to Grand Slam fourth round for the first time at the 2021 Australian Open. 

“It was a tough match today. It has been a great week for me so far. I have beaten good players and today was a very big challenge. Fabio is the defending champion here and he plays very tricky. He can hit winners from anywhere and you really need to be ready for anything to come at you. I was happy with the way I was able to stay steady and make him play an extra ball here and there to force an error out of his play. It’s a nice feeling to be in the semifinals”, said Ruud. 

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