Ash Barty Endures 50-Hour Trip To Miami For Title Defence - UBITENNIS
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Ash Barty Endures 50-Hour Trip To Miami For Title Defence

The tennis star says it is ‘bizarre’ leaving her home country as she fights to maintain her No.1 ranking.

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Ash Barty says she is ‘excited’ to be playing tennis outside of her home country once again, even though her first taste of international travel in 12 months didn’t go to plan.

 

The former French Open champion has not travelled internationally for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and missed two out of the three Grand Slam tournaments which were played last year. Despite her lengthy absence from the Tour Barty has managed to maintain at the top of the rankings due to adjustments to the calculations.

Hoping to maintain her position over the coming weeks, the 24-year-old is headlining the Miami Open where she is the defending champion from 2019 (the tournament was cancelled last year). Heading into the tournament Barty admits she has mixed feelings about embarking on playing a full season with various restrictions still in place.

“When leaving Australia, it was quite hard to leave and quite emotional to me,” Barty told reporters on Tuesday. “But I think we’re (my team) excited to have the opportunity to play the whole season. So I think we’re looking at staying away the whole season.’
“Touch wood, everything goes well with the rest of the world, where we’ll be travelling to and playing tournaments,we’ll be able to play safely and feel really comfortable.”

Unfortunately for the Australian she has already experienced some blips in her travels to another country with it taking two days to arrive in Miami. A trip she describes as ‘usually quite easy to make.’ However, a series of flight cancellations forced her to seek alternate routes in what ended up being an eventful journey.

“It was certainly bizarre leaving Australia. We had quite a lengthy trip over here, had a couple flight cancellations. It turned out to be a near 50-hour trip to get here,” she commented on the duration of her trip.
“It was about 48 hours, 45 hours door-to-door, for us. What should have been quite a simple Brisbane-Sydney, Sydney to L.A., L.A.on to Miami is usually quite an easy trip. We had a flight cancellation leaving Australia and another fight cancellation when we got to L.A. It was quite a wriggle around.”

Travel chaos aside, Barty hopes she can continue her form generated from the start of the season. In Melbourne she won her ninth WTA title at the Yarra Valley Classic before going on to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open before losing to Karolína Muchová. Barty then suffered a shock loss in the first round of the Adelaide International.

Seeking to get her groove back in Miami, Barty also faces the threat of losing her No.1 ranking to Naomi Osaka who is currently on a 21-match winning streak. Osaka is just defending 65 points in the tournament. Regardless of what happens, she is hopeful that she can once again play at her best.

“I’m looking forward to hopefully bringing some of my best tennis again and giving myself a chance to play a few matches and really get stuck into the tournament,” she concluded.

Barty, who has a bye in the first round, will start her Miami campaign against either Hailey Baptiste or Kristina Kucova.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Jasmine Paolini lifts her first WTA title in Portoroz

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Jasmine Paolini claimed the first WTA Tour title of her career in Portoroz. The Italian player came back from two breaks down in the opening set to beat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in the final after 1 hour and 45 minutes.

 

“I think it’s been an amazing week here in Portoroz. I just feel very happy. It’s a big achievement for me, to win my first title. On hardcourts, it’s special. I think I was maybe a bit relaxed. I understood more about the game. I tried to change the rhythm of the game with higher balls, and I think that was the key”, said Paolini. 

Paolini beat Dayana Yastremska in the first round, Sorana Cristea in the quarter final, and Yulia Putintseva. The 25-year-old Italian player beat three top 50 players in a row in her final three matches this week. 

After a trade of breaks in the opening two games, Riske went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Paolini pulled one break back in the eight game from 3-5. The Italian broke at love in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5, as Riske was serving for the set. Riske rallied from 2-5 to 4-5 in the tie-break. 

Paolini earned two set points at 6-4 and converted her first set point when Riske sent an overhead long. Paolini broke serve in the fifth game with a forehand winner down the line to take a 3-2 lead. Paolini won the final five games and sealed the second set 6-2 with an error-forcing forehand.

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Clare Tauson claims her second WTA Tour title at the age of 18

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World number 70 Clare Tauson has won the second WTA Tour title of her career at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open this season beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the final after 2 hours and 3 minutes. 

 

Tauson enjoyed a great week in which she up number 4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the second round and this year’s Olympic finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the semifinals. Tauson won her first title as a qualifer in another indoor tournament in Lyon last March in just her second Tour-level tournament. Tauson also won the WTA 125 trophy in Chicago last August beating Emma Raducanu, who went on to win the US Open last week. 

Tauson is one of the four players born in 2002 ranked in the the tpè 100 alongside Raducanu, the other US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and Marta Kostyuk. 

The Danish teenager is the seventh player to claim more trophies, joining Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, Barbora Krejikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Danielle Collins and Daria Kasakina. 

Ostapenko won the Luxembourg tournament on her debut at this tournament in 2019 and had been undefeated before today’s tournament. 

Tauson has become the fourth player to successfully defend the Luxembourg title after Jana Novotna, Martina Navratilova and Kim Cljisters. 

Ostapenko hit a smash to break Tauson to take a 6-3 lead. The Latvian player earned an early break to take a 2-1 lead. Tauson broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Ostapenko fired return winners to take a 2-1 lead with a break. Tauson broke back with two straight return winners. Tauson fended off two break points to hold serve after a marathon five-deuce for 3-2. Ostapenko was broken after a fourth double fault, when she was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. 

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