Victoria Azarenka, Aryna Sabalenka To Team Up For Olympic Bid - UBITENNIS
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Victoria Azarenka, Aryna Sabalenka To Team Up For Olympic Bid

The two players say their main focus is on playing singles but a ‘great opportunity’ has presented itself.

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image via https://twitter.com/bett1open

The two highest ranked WTA players from Belarus are being considered as strong contenders to win an Olympic medal later this year after they recently confirmed plans to join forces.

 

Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka are set to play in the women’s doubles tournament despite only playing together five times before on the WTA Tour. The duo has illustrated their potential at the Bett1 Open in Berlin, where they clinched the title on Sunday. In the final the pair upset top seeds Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs 4-6, 7-5, 10-7, to claim their first ever trophy together.

We both brought a different level, mindset than a few years ago. It was important to play together to feel each other’s game, see what we can try, apply what works, what we can work on. Our priority is singles but it’s a great opportunity at the Olympics to team up,” WTA Insider quoted Azarenka as saying following the final on Sunday.

Whilst they are both best known for their singles game, they have also had previous success in the doubles. Sabalenka won the 2019 US Open and 2021 Australian Open alongside Elise Mertens, as well as three Premier titles.

“We’ll play at the Olympics. To win a title, it gives us a lot of confidence and we feel each other better and players will know that we are playing good with each other and it’s more confidence for us and more pressure for other players,” the world No.4 commented.

Azarenka has already enjoyed success at the Olympics in her career. In 2012 she defeated Russia’s Maria Kirilenko in straight sets to win a bronze medal. During the same year she won gold in the mixed doubles alongside Max Mirnyi. Making her the only Belarusian tennis player in history to have won multiple Olympic medals.

This year’s Tokyo Olympic tennis tournament will be held at the Ariake Tennis Park and will get underway on July 24th.

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Elina Svitolina Splits With Coach After Five Years

The tennis star issued a brief statement saying ‘the time is right’ to go in another direction.

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image via https://twitter.com/ElinaSvitolina

Elina Svitolina is on the hunt for a new coach after parting ways with Andrew Beetles.

 

The two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist issued a statement on Monday confirming that she will no longer be working with her British mentor with them both deciding to go ‘their own ways.’  Beetles, who is the former hitting partner of Ana Ivanovic, spent his first full season with Svitolina back in 2017. He started as an assistant coach before later being promoted. Under his guidance, the Ukrainian rose to a ranking high of three and won 11 Tour titles.

“After 5 years and 11 titles together!! Andy and I both agreed it was the right time to move our separate ways. I am very thankful for all his hard work and endless support. I wish him only the best in his future career!’ Svitolina wrote on Twitter. 

The announcement comes a week after Svitolina suffered a shock first round loss at the Tenerife Open to Colombia’s Camila Osorio who went on to reach the final. So far this season she has won 41 out of 61 matches played on the Tour with her best performance occurring at the Chicago Open where she won the title. Svitolina also won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games and reached the quarter-finals of the US Open. 

Svitolina, who married Gael Monfils earlier this year, is currently ranked sixth in the world. She is hoping to finish the season ranked inside the world’s top 10 for the fifth year in a row.

There is currently no information about who may take over as the new coach of the 27-year-old. 

Svitolina’s 2021 results

  • Melbourne 1 – QF
  • Australian Open – R4
  • Doha – QF Dubai – R2
  • Miami – SF
  • Stuttgart – SF
  • Madrid – R1
  • Rome – QF
  • French Open – R3
  • Berlin – R2
  • Eastbourne – R2
  • Wimbledon – R2
  • Tokyo Olympics – Bronze medal
  • Canadian Open – R2
  • Cincinnati – R2
  • Chicargo – Champion
  • US Open – QF
  • Chicargo 2 – QF
  • Indian Wells – R4
  • Tenerife – R1

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Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the line-up at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna

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Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the line-up at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. The Greek star will play in the Austrian capital for the second time in his career. 

 

Tsitsipas will face 2017 ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov in the first round. The Greek player will be looking to avenge his defeat against his Bulgarian opponent, who took the win in three sets 6-7 6-4 6-4 in their previous head-to-head match at last year’s edition of the Vienna tournament. 

Tsitsipas will be aiming to win his third title this season following his triumphs in Monte-Carlo and Lyon. 

Number 2 seed Alexander Zverev will play in the Erste Bank Open main draw for the second time. This year Zverev won two Masters 1000 titles in Madrid and Cincinnati and the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.

Matteo Berrettini will open his campaign against Alexei Popyrin. The Italian star is the third seed and has a good chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin. This year Berrettini won two titles in Belgrade and Queen’s and reached two finals at the Madrid Masters 1000 and Wimbledon. 

Hubert Hurkacz holds the final qualifying spot for Turin in ninth place with 2955 points, 110 points ahead of Jannik Sinner, who won his fourth title this season in Antwerp following his previous wins in Melbourne, Washington and Sofia. The 20-year-old Italian star also finished runner-up to Hurkacz in his first Masters 1000 final in Miami. 

Sinner has become the first Italian player in history to win four ATP titles in the same season and is the youngest player to win five ATP Tour titles since 19-year-old Novak Djokovic claimed the Estoril trophy in 2007. Sinner will face a tough first round match against Reilly Opelka. 

Sinner dropped just a total of eight games against Lloyd Harris in the semifinal and Diego Schwartzman in the final. 

The line-up also features another Masters 1000 chmpion Cameron Norrie, who won at Indian Wells and is currently ranked 11th in the ATP Race to Turin with 2795 points ahead of this year’s US Open semifinalist Felix Auger Aliassime (2330 points). 

Andy Murray will play in Vienna for the third time in his career as a wild card. Murray won the Austrian tournment twice in 2014 and 2016. He will take on Hurkacz, who won his previous head-to-head matches against the British player in Cincinnati and Metz. Murray beat Frances Tiafoe in a marathon match after 3 hours and 45 minutes in Antwerp last week. 

Kevin Anderson got through to the qualifying round to secure his spot in the main draw. The 2018 Vienna champion will face Alex De Minaur, who won two titles in Antalya and Eastbourne. The top first-round matches are: Diego Schwartzman against Fabio Fognini, Gael Monfils against Lorenzo Musetti, Daniel Evans against Carlos Alcaraz. 

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Ann Li clinches her first WTA Tour title in Tenerife

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Ann Li clinched her first WTA Tour title with a 6-1 6-4 win over 19-year-old Spanish player Camila Osorio after 1 hour and 10 minutes at the Tenerife Ladies Open.

 

Li reached her second final after her first title match against Anett Kontaveit at the Grampians Trophy in Melbourne last winter was not played just before the Australian Open. 

Li converted five of her ten break points and hit 15 winners. Osorio earned her first break in the opening game. Li bounced back by winning six consecutive games with three breaks of serve. The 21-year-old US player hit 8 winners to 6 unforced errors. Li broke Osorio at love with a forehand return winner in the first game of the second set. Osorio got the break straight back in the second game. Li earned the decisive break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and served out the win with a forehand overhead for 6-4 in the 10th game.

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