Jessica Pegula beats Karolina Pliskova for the third time this year - UBITENNIS
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Jessica Pegula beats Karolina Pliskova for the third time this year

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This year’s Australian Open quarter finalist Jessica Pegula beat Karolina Pliskova for the third time in their past three tournaments with a 6-1 4-6 6-4 win after 2 hours and nine minutes at the Miami Open. Pegula came back from 2-4 down in the third set to advance to the fourth round for the first time in her career. 

 

Pliskova won a set against the US player, who had beaten her Czech rival 6-3 6-1 in the quarter finals in Doha and 6-0 6-2 in the Dubai third round in their previous two head-to-head matches. 

Pegula built up a 6-1 4-1 lead after committing just two unforced errors in the opening set, but Pliskova reeled off five consecutive games to clinch the second set 6-4 sending the match to the decider. Pliskova broke back after a double fault from Pegula. The Czech player earned another break to take a 5-4 lead, as Pegula hit a forehand long. 

Pliskova won 9 of 11 games from 1-4 down in the first set to build up to 4-2 in the third set. The former world number 1 player held a point for a 5-2 double break lead, but Pegula saved the break point with a dropshot and held serve with consecutive winners. Pegula won the final four games to secure her spot in the round of 16, where she will face Maria Sakkari from Greece, who cruised past qualifier Liudmila Samsonova 6-0 6-1. 

“I played her a lot in the last three weeks. I expected her to play well there. Even when I was up I still felt like she could easily come back just because she plays so aggressive and she serves well”, said Pegula. 

Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo upset Elena Rybakina 6-1 3-6 6-2 in 2 hours and 24 minutes. Sorribes Tormo clinched her ninth three-set win this season, including 3 of the 20 longest matches in 2021. 

Sorribes Tormo built up a 6-1 2-0 lead, but Rybakina broke back with a passing shot. The Kazakh player earned two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games to win the second set 6-3. Sorribes Tormo got three of the four breaks in the first five games of the decider. Rybakina pulled one break back on her third chance in the sixth game for 2-4, but Sorribes Tormo sealed the win with her fourth break in the seventh game. 

The Spaniard set up a round of 16 clash against Ons Jabeur, who overcame 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-4 4-6 6-4. Jabeur claimed the first set 6-4 with a break at love in the ninth game.

Kenin went up an early break to take a 2-0 lead, but Jabeur broke straight back in the third game. Kenin claimed the second set with a break at deuce in the 10th game. Kenin broke serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Jabeur broke straight back at love in the fifth game and held on her serve to draw level to 3-3. Jabeur won the final three games with a break in the ninth game to seal the third set 6-4. 

Elise Mertens edged past Anett Kontaveit 6-2 0-6 6-2. Mertens got three of the four breaks in the first five games to win the opening set 6-2. Kontaveit broke three times to take a bagel win in the second set, but the final game featured three deuces. Mertens broke twice in the third and fifth games to win the third set 6-2 setting up a Round of 16 match against Naomi Osaka.

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The Ultimate Tennis Showdown returns in 2023

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The Ultimate Tennis Showdown plans to return in 2023. The tennis league was founded by coach Patrick Mouratoglou in 2020 when the ATP and the WTA Tours were shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

The UTS announced that it will hold exhibition matches in July, September, November and December in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. 

The league introduces a series of innovative rules, including four 8-minute quarters, no second serves, relaxed code of conduct, sudden death tie-breaks, bonus cards and mid-match interviews with players, player nicknames. The goal is to attract a larger and younger tennis fanbase. 

The first edition of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown was held without spectators in Southern France in June 2020 to give players the chance to play matches when the ATP and WTA tournaments were not held during the covid-19 pandemic. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini, Felix Auger Aliassime, Danil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem highlighted the inaugural edition. 

Patrick Mouratoglou: “I cannot give too much away, but the roster will be impressive. Our first approach with Ultimate Tennis Showdown was to validate the proof of concept. Then in 2022 we raised capital to run the events in front of a real crowd”.

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Carlos Alcaraz, Holger Rune and Jack Draper are nominated in three categories for the 2022 ATP Awards

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The ATP has announced the Awards Nominees for the 2022 season for five categories: Comeback Player of the Year, the Most Improved Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, Stefan Edberg Sportsmanships Award and Coach of the Year. 

 

Carlos Alcaraz and his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero have received a total of three nominations. Alcaraz has been nominated for the Most Improved Player of the Year alongside Maxime Cressy, Jack Draper and Holger Rune. This award will be given to the player who reached a significantly higher ATP Ranking by year’s end and who showed an improved level of performance through the year. 

Alcaraz is the youngest and first teenage player in ATP Rankings history since 1973, rising to top spot at the age of 19 after his US Open title after ending the 2021 season at world number 32. He beat Casper Ruud in the 2022 US Open final, becoming the youngest Grand Slam men’s champion since Rafael Nadal won the 2005 French Open, and the youngest US Open champion since Pete Sampras in 1990. 

Former world number 1 junior player Holger Rune broke into top 100 in January 2022 and ended the season in the top 10 after winning his first Masters 1000 title in Paris Bercy. 

French-born American born Maxime Cressy broke into Top 100 in January 2022 and achieved a career-high of world number 31 in August 2022. 

Jack Draper and Holger Rune have been nominated in both the Most Improved Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year categories.

Draper started the 2022 season outside the top 200 and broke into the top 50 reaching world number 45 last October. During the 2022 season Draper reached his first ATP Tour semifinal in Eastbourne as wild card. He earned the biggest win of his career over world number 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to reaching the quarter final at the Montreal Masters 1000 as qualifier and beat Felix Auger Aliassime to reach the US Open third round. 

Alcaraz has also been nominated for the Stefan Sportsmanship Award for the first year alongside Felix Auger Aliassime, Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud and Frances Tiafoe. The player, who conducted himself at the highest level of professionalism and integrity, who competed with the utmost spirit of fairness and who promoted the game through his off-court activities.

The nominees for the Comeback Player of the Year are are Borna Coric, Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka and Wu Yibing. The player who has overcome serious injury in re-establishing himself as one of the top players on the ATP Tour. 

Coric beat world number 3 Rafael Nadal as world number 152 en route to his title in Cincinnati, becoming the lowest-ranked champion in Masters 1000 series history. 

Thiem fell out of top 300 last June after losing to Hugo Dellien at Roland Garros, but he returned to good form last autumn when he reached the semifinals at the 2022 European Open after beating Hubert Hurkacz. The Austrian player beat Tommy Paul in a tight three-set match with two tie-breaks after saving two match points. 

Wawrinka returned to his best form last October, when he beat world number 3 Casper Ruud and Brandon Nakashima at the Swiss Open in Basel, climbing 15 positions up to the top 150 in the ATP Ranking. 

Wu Yibing did not play from March 2019 to January 2022 due to injuries, rising from 1869 in March 2022 to career-high number 173 in August 2022 after winning titles at Orange Park, Orlando Challenger, Rome, USA Challenger and Indianapolis Challenger. 

The candidates for the the Newcomer of the Year are Holger Rune, Jack Draper, Jiri Lehecka, Ben Shelton, Chun-Hsin Tseng. The Newcomer of the Year is the Next Gen player who broke into the top 100 for the first time in 2022. 

Lehecka broke into the top 100 in February 2022 before reaching his career-high of world number 59 in August 2022 and qualified for the Intesa San Paolo Next Gen Finals. The Czech player world number 12 Denis Shapovalov for his first ATP Tour Main Draw win en route to reaching the semifinal at the ATP 500 tournament in Rotterdam as a qualifier. 

Shelton achieved his career-high of world number 165 at the age of 19 last August, becoming the third highest-ranked teenager behind Alcaraz and Rune. He beat world number 5 Casper Ruud to reach the third round in Cincinnati in his Masters 1000 debut, becoming the youngest US player to beat a top 5 opponent since Andy Roddick at Montreal in 2001. 

Chun-Hsin Tseng broke into top 100 last June and reached a career-high of world number 83 last August. He qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. 

The nominees for the Coach of the Year Award are Juan Carlos Ferrero (Carlos Alcaraz), Frederic Fontang (Felix Auger Aliassime), Goran Ivanisevic (Novak Djokovic), Michael Russell (Taylor Fritz) and Christian Ruud (Casper Ruud). 

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Novak Djokovic starts the 2023 season in Adelaide

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Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 season in Adelaide. Djokovic ended the 2022 season with five titles at Rome Masters 1000, Wimbedon, Astana, Tel Aviv and at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. 

 

Djokovic will also play in the exhibition tournament “World Tennis League) in Dubai from 19 to 24 December, where the Serbian player will team up with Grigor Dimitrov, Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa for the Falcons team. 

In the first week of January Djokovic will warm up for the Australian Open at the ATP 250 tournament in Adelaide from 2 to 8 January. The 21-time Grand Slam champion won nine Australian Open titles in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2021 but he was not able to play in the first Grand Slam tournament of the season last January due to his Covid vaccination status. 

Djokovic joins a star-studded field that already features 2021 US Open champion Danil Medvedev, Jannik Sinner and two-time Olympic champion Andy Murray.

Murray will play for the first time in his career in Adelaide. 

“I will be starting the year in Australia, which I always really enjoy. Playing at the Adelaide International for the first time is something I am looking forward to”, said Murray. 

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