Tennis Stars Past And Present Dominate Laureus Sports Awards - UBITENNIS
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Tennis Stars Past And Present Dominate Laureus Sports Awards

Rafael Nadal and Naomi Osaka have come out on top as Billie Jean King receives her own special honour.

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Naomi Osaka pictured with her 2021 Laureus Sports Award (image via https://twitter.com/usopen)

The annual Laureus World Sports Awards have been a big success for the world of tennis with stars of the sport winning three separate awards.

 

World No.2 Naomi Osaka has become the first Japanese player in history to win the Sportswoman of The Year award. The 23-year-old won her third Grand Slam title at the US Open last year before going on to also triumph at the Australian Open in February. She was at one stage in a 23-match winning streak before losing to Maria Sakkari at the Miami Open earlier this year.

It was during the US Open where Osaka received widespread praise for her social activism. Prior to every match played she won a mask branding the name of somebody who has been the victim of police brutality. Her actions coincided with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I’ve watched so many of my role models win this Award, so it definitely means a lot now to be holding it,” said Osaka. “I am so happy to receive it. It really means a lot to me.
“I think it is important to use my voice, because for me I feel like I often hold back a lot and worry about what people think of me, but you know if you have a platform it is very important you use it.
“Looking ahead my main hopes for the future would be just to have helped or impacted as many people as I could and, hopefully be a better person.”

Osaka is only the fourth tennis player to have won the award after Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati and Justine Henin.

20-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal took home the Sportsman of The Year award for the second time in his career after 2011. Last season the Spaniard won a record 13th French Open title with a comprehensive win over Novak Djokovic in the final. He has won more ATP titles on the clay than anybody else in the history of men’s tennis.

Nadal’s triumph saw him fight off strong competition from the likes of Lebron James, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Lewandowski. It is the fourth time he has won a Laureus Award.

I want to say thank you very much from the bottom of my heart to the Laureus Academy. I have had some amazing competitors,” Nadal said. “The rest of the sportsmen probably deserve the trophy the same as me, but this was the year for me and I can’t be happier.
“Winning the French Open and equalling the 20th Grand Slam of Roger Federer has been an unforgettable moment. It means a lot to equal my great rival, but at the same time, my great friend. It’s something very special after all the history we have had together on and off court.
“The pandemic that we are facing is something unprecedented and I want to send a message of support to all the families that have suffered or lost somebody.”

Finally, tennis icon Billie Jean King has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The American won 129 singles titles with 12 of them being in the majors during her career. She also won a further 16 grand slam titles in the women’s doubles and 11 in the mixed doubles.

King is also known for her involvement in the evolution of women’s tennis with her campaigning for equal prize money. She also founded the WTA Tour and the Fed Cup has been renamed in her honour.

The Laureus World Sports Academy, who are described as a ‘unique group of sporting legends,’ decide on who wins the awards. Boris Becker, Li Na, Monica Seles and Martina Navratilova are all members of the academy.

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Marcos Giron overcomes Jaume Munar at the Sofia Open

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Marcos Giron converted his 10th match point in a 20-minute final game to overcome Jaume Munar 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 6-4 in almost three hours at the Sofia Open. Giron claimed his seventh win in his past ten matches. 

 

The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break, where Giron edged Munar 7-2 with two mini-breaks. Munar broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the second set 6-1. 

Giron fended  off three break points in the 10th game before serving out the match in the 10th game of the decider. The US player saved all five break points he faced and converted three of his break point chances  

“The first set was close. I feel like I had chances, but he played better than me in the tie-break. I thought I did a great job resetting and adjusting in the second set, and then in the third set I was able to get the break early, but he kept holding on. I am happy to get through that, it was a battle. That might be the most match points I have ever had”, said Giron. 

Giron set up a second round match against Alex De Minaur. In their previous head-to-head match Giron beat De Minaur 7-5 7-6 (7-5). 

Bulgarian wild card Dimitar Kuzmanov came back from one set down to beat Lorenzo Musetti 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 after 3 hours and 5 minutes. 

Musetti went down 0-3 but he pulled the break back in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. Musetti broke in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead, but he dropped his serve in the tenth game. Musetti went up a 4-0 lead in the tie-break with two mini-breaks. He earned five set points at 6-1. Kuzmanov saved three set points, but Musetti converted his fourth chance to win the tie-break 7-4. 

Musetti missed six break points in three return games in the second set. The Italian Next Gen player saved two break points at 5-5. Kuzmanov rallied from 0-2 down to win the tie-break 7-3. Kuzmanov won 12 points from 2-2 in the third set to cruise through to a 6-3 lead. 

John Millman beat Mikael Ymer 6-2 6-4 in their first head-to-head match. Both players traded breaks in the second and third games of the opening set. Millman broke serve at love in the sixth and eighth games to win the first set 6-2. The second set started with three consecutive breaks, as Ymer took a 2-1 lead. Millman came back from 2-4 down by winning four consecutive games to close out the second set 6-4. “At this level every match is a bit of a battle, but I was really happy with how I played here in my first match. Getting used to the conditions is so important and right from the start I thought I set a really good level”, said Millman.

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Brandon Nakashima rallies from one set down to beat Fabio Fognini in San Diego

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US Next Gen player Brandon Nakashima came back from one set down to beat former world number 9 Fabio Fognini 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 7-5 at the San Diego Open. Nakashima set up a second round match against Andrey Rublev. 

 

Nakashima won 80% of his first serve points, including hit eight aces, and won 63% of second serves. 

Fognini went up a 2-0 lead with a break, but Nakashima broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Fognini saved a break point in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 and two match points n the 10th game but Nakashima broke serve at 15 in the 12h game to close out the third set 7-5. 

“I did not think I played bad in the first set. He just played a bit better at and that’s all it takes against a player like that, but luckily I was able to regroup quickly, get a break in the first game of the second set and tried to ride the momentum from there”, said Nakashima. 

Aslan Karatsev won 84% of his first set points and did not face a break point in his 6-1 7-5 win over Federico Delbonis. Karatsev broke twice in the second and sixth games to close out the first set 6-1. Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games. Karatsev earned his second break in the 11th game on the fourth deuce to win the second set 7-5. Karatsev is bidding for his second ATP Tour level title after winning in Dubai last March. The Russian player will face either Metz Moselle Open champion Hubert Hurkacz or Australian qualifier Alex Bolt.

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International Tennis Hall Of Fame To Mark Emma Raducanu’s US Open Win

The teenager has donated some of her clothing to the ITHF collection.

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2021 US Open Women's Singles Champion Emma Raducanu at the 2021 US Open, Saturday, Sep. 11, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

The outfit worn by Emma Raducanu during her historic run at the US Open has a new home after the tennis star agreed to donate it to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport.

 

Raducanu stunned the tennis world in New York by becoming the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam title. The 18-year-old defeated two top 20 players en route to the title and didn’t drop a set in 10 matches played. She is the first British woman to win a major since Virginia Wade in 1977 and the first in history to win a Grand Slam on what was only her second main draw appearance.

To celebrate Raducanu’s rapid rise in the sport, her Nike Heritage classic style V-neck red tank top with contrast trims and a blue skirt with red pleats will be put on display in the Tennis Hall of Fame’s museum in Rhode Island.

“A legendary run: preserved,” the Tennis Hall of Fame tweeted.
“Thank you, @EmmaRaducanu, for donating your memorable #USOpen outfit to the ITHF collection!”

Raducanu is currently at a ranking high of 22nd in the world which is more than 300 places higher than the position she was in at the start of the year. She is currently on a search for a new coach after parting ways with Andrew Richardson. Raducanu says she wants to collaborate with somebody who has more experience of the WTA Tour.

In the wake of her US Open success, there have been suggestions that the rising star could be among the favourites to win the Australian Open which will take place in January. Coincidentally next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the last time a British woman won the tournament. However, Raducanu has dismissed such suggestions.

“If I’m seeded, then I’m seeded, but favourite? I think one tournament, you can’t really say I’m a favourite. I’m still so new to everything.” She said during a recent LTA event celebrating British winners of the US Open.
“I just feel like I’m learning and absorbing all the knowledge that I’m gaining like a sponge and soaking it all in.
“That’s what I really want to do. I’m not focused on results, I’m focused on how much I can learn because that’s what’s really going to drive me forward.”

Raducanu has pulled out of this week’s Chicago Fall Tennis Classic but she is expected to return to action next week in Indian Wells.

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