Bubble Life Affecting Players Performances, Warns Simona Halep - UBITENNIS
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Bubble Life Affecting Players Performances, Warns Simona Halep

The world No.3 says it is ‘exhausting’ staying inside a bubble as she explains why she has travelled to America this year.

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Multiple Grand Slam champion Simona Halep says she is unsurprised by the different winners there have been on the WTA Tour this season as she links the current situation to rules related to COVID-19.

 

So far this year 13 tournaments have been played on the women’s Tour but only one player has managed to win multiple titles. That is Daria Kasatkina who won the Phillip Island Trophy in Melbourne and the St Petersburg Open in Russia. Other champion this season include Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open, Garbine Muguruza in Dubai and Petra Kvitova in Doha.

The WTA has previously been criticised by some over the lack of consistency among players at times. However, others argue that the current situation is due to the amount of depth there currently is in the game. A view echoed by Halep who also believes bubble life is taking its toll on some.

“I think women in general struggle with a bit of pressure,” she said earlier this week.
“I feel like this period is not easy for everybody. It’s tough to stay closed in the hotel, in the bubble, like every tournament. I don’t believe that all the players can perform at the highest level that they can offer.’
“Women’s tennis, the tour, it’s open and everyone can win a tournament in top 10 for sure and also outside of top 10. I’m not very surprised. I know that tournaments are not easy for the players every week in this situation. That’s why I feel like all the players have a chance to win.”

Due to the pandemic, some events have implemented their own procedures to minimise the risk of an outbreak of the virus with the use of ‘bubbles.’ A designated area where players must stay throughout their time playing at the event. At this week’s Miami Open players are being transported to and from the Hard Rock Stadium via bus shuttle, and are not allowed to socialize with anybody outside of the bubble.

Halep, who opted not to play the US Open last year due to the virus, describes staying inside a bubble as ‘exhausting.’ However, she appreciates the rules in place after contracting COVID-19 herself. Fortunately for the Romanian she only experienced minor symptoms and has since been vaccinated.

“I feel more comfortable to travel now. That’s why I decided to come here (to Miami),” Halep explains. “A few weeks ago somebody asked me why didn’t I play US Open but why are you playing Miami? I said it’s a long time since August, so now I’m in a better position also mentally, and that’s why I’m coming.”

This year is Halep’s ninth main draw appearance in Miami where she is seeking to win the title for the first time. She is already a two-time semi-finalist of the tournament and boasts a win-loss record of 20-8. Although she is staying coy about her chances this year amid a minor injury she is dealing with.

“I think I can play on the court very well,” she said. “Now I’m struggling a little bit with the shoulder. But I’m happy to be here. Of course, I have to dream big. Maybe one day, I can win this tournament.”

Halep is the third seed in Miami and will open up her campaign against France’s Caroline Garcia.

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Taylor Fritz saves two match points to upset Alexander Zverev in Indian Wells

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Taylor Fritz saved two match points to score the second top 5 win of his career against 2021 Olympic champion Alexander Zverev at he BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Fritz has reached his first Masters 1000 semifinal. 

 

After a trade of breaks at the start of the opening set, Fritz saved two break points in the fifth game. Zverev broke serve in the seventh game to win the first set 6-4. 

Fritz broke in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead and served out 6-3 at deuce in the ninth game. 

Zverev earned an early break to take a 2-0 lead at the start of the third set and held on his next service games to open up a 5-2 lead. Fritz broke back in the ninth game, when Zverev made two double faults, as he was serving out the match.  

Fritz came back from 2-5 down in the third set and fended off two match points at 3-5 30-40 and 4-5 30-40 to beat Zverev 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) after 2 hours and 22 minutes. 

Despite today’s defeat Zverev still leads 3-2 in his head-to-head matches against Fritz. The US player will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 2-6 6-4 to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal. 

“I was really down and out but I found a way to put myself into it. I really wanted to make him have to close me out and I was able to get back into the match Normally you would be so nervous in those situations and in the third set tie-break, but I felt so confident being aggressive, going after my game. It feels really great to play well with the pressure on”, said Fritz. 

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Nikoloz Basilashvili upsets Stefanos Tsitsipas in Indian Wells to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal

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Nikoloz Basilashvili upset world number 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 2-6 6-4 to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semfinal. 

 

Basilashvili, who was playing in his first Masters 1000 quarter final, went up a 4-1 lead with a double break in the first and fifth games. Tsitsipas pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4. Basilashvili held on his next service games to claim the first set 6-4. 

Tsitsipas broke twice in the fourth and eighth games and did not face a break point to seal the second set 6-2. 

After a trade of breaks in the first and fourth games of the third set, Basilashvili earned his second break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and fended off a break point in the eighth game to hold serve after three deuces. He served out the win on his first match point in the 10th game.   

Despite the defeat Tsitsipas still leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against Basilashvili. The Georgian player had never won a main draw match in Indian Wells in his four previous appearances at this tournament. Earlier this year he won two titles at Doha and Munich. 

Tsitsipas was aiming to reach his third consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal in North America after advancing to the last four in two consecutive hard-court tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati. 

“I have played really great matches this tournament. I was not played with how I played today but I was happy with how I managed my stress levels. First time in the quarter finals and it is a big court and Stefanos is still a tough player. I had to keep my physical levels and energy levels in a really good shape because I knew mentally I would be a little bit tight and stressed”, said Basilashvili.

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Carlos Moya, Flavia Pennetta and Ana Ivanovic are among the candidates for the 2022 International Tennis Hall of Fame

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Carlos Moya, the first Spanish player the number 1, and former Grand Slam champions Flavia Pennetta and Ana Ivanovic are among the candidates for 2022 International Tennis Hall of Fame. 

 

Ivanovic lifted the 2008 French Open Trophy after a final at the 2008 Australian Open and a semifinal at 2007 Wimbledon and claimed 15 WTA titles during her career. Since her French Open triumph, she spent 12 weeks as world number 1 player. She would become the first player representing Serbia to be voted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. 

“Many of the women who I looked up to as a young girl are Hall of Famers and to be nominated to receive an honour that places my career alongside those who inspired me is just incredible”, said Ana Ivanovic. 

Flavia Pennetta became the oldest first-time Grand Slam champion when she beat her childhood friend Roberta Vinci in the all-Italian US Open Final in 2015. Pennetta teamed up with Vinci in guiding Italy to four Fed Cup titles. 

“I loved competing and to have my tennis career recognized in this way among the sports all-greats is such an incredible honour”, said Pennetta. 

Moya won the 1998 Roland Garros title and reached the 1997 Australian Open final. He became the first Spanish player to reach the top of the ATP Ranking and won 20 ATP titles, including three ATP Masters 1000 trophies. Moya lifted the Davis Cup title in 2004 for Spain after taking his his second singles win of the tie with his straight-set win over Andy Roddick. 

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