Ash Barty Fires Back At Critics Of Her No.1 Status - UBITENNIS
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Ash Barty Fires Back At Critics Of Her No.1 Status

The 24-year-old says she ‘has nothing to prove’ after lifting the Miami Open title.

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Australia’s Ash Barty says she has earned the right to be at the top of the world rankings despite not playing a match for 11 months.

 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WTA made adjustments to how a player’s ranking is calculated to help support those who have been affected. Using a longer period and some results going back to 2019 to determine their position instead of the usual 52-week approach. Barty has held the No.1 spot continuously since September 9th 2019 but was absent from the Tour between March 2020 and January 2021.

Critics have argued that Barty’s weeks at No.1 should have an asterisk next to it given the circumstances. She has been at the top of the rankings for more weeks than Simona Halep, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters.

“I never have to prove anything to anyone,” said Barty. “I know all the work that I do with my team behind the scene. I know there has been a lot of talk about the ranking, but I didn’t play at all last year and I didn’t improve any of my points whatsoever.’
“There were girls who had the chance to improve theirs, so I felt like I thoroughly deserve my spot at the top of the rankings.”

Barty, who has won 10 WTA titles so far in her career, points out that her 2019 season justifies her rise to the top. During that year she claimed her first Grand Slam at the French Open in what was one out of four tournaments which she won. Barty also triumphed at the season-ending WTA Finals.

“The year we had in 2019 was incredible, incredible for us (my team) and to be able to build on that now since the restart for us has been great. In my eyes we come out here and do the best that we can regardless of what anyone is saying. So I never feel like I have to prove anything to anyone,” she said.
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That’s absolutely fine. I can’t control what anyone else thinks or what anyone else says. I just keep trying to do what we do.”

Since returning to tennis in Melbourne earlier this year, Barty has won 14 out of 16 matches played. On Saturday she defended a WTA title for the first time at the Miami Open after defeating Bianca Andreescu who retired injured during the second set. The 24-year-old also scored wins over Elina Svitolina, Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Ostapenko in the tournament.

Barty joins an exclusive list of female players who have managed to win back-to-back titles in Miami. Others to do so include both of the Williams sisters, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

“I feel like I shouldn’t belong with that group,” she commented on the milestone. “I feel like I haven’t earned the right to be in a list of names with those champions. They are genuine champions of our sport, legends of our sport. I feel very privileged to be mentioned in that sentence.”
“I’ve got a long, long way to go yet before I can be in discussion with those names,” she added.

There will be little time for the Australian to relax with the clay swing swiftly approaching. She will return to action next week at the Volvo Open in Charleston.

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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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