Ash Barty Joins Osaka And Williams In Skipping Indian Wells - UBITENNIS
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Ash Barty Joins Osaka And Williams In Skipping Indian Wells

Will the Australian play again this year?

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Ashleigh Barty (AUS) Credit: AELTC/Florian Eisele

The decision by Ash Barty to withdraw from next week’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells has cast doubts on the chances of her playing again this year.

 

The world No.1 has been absent from the Tour ever since her third round loss to Shelby Rogers at the US Open. Since then, Barty has not spoken publicly about her plans for the rest of the season and if she will play again.

On Monday the official social media feeds of Indian Wells confirmed the 25-year-old will not be playing in the tournament but didn’t provide a reason as to why. She is the latest high profile name to miss the event along with Naomi Osaka who is taking a break from the Tour due to personal reasons and Serena Williams. This year’s tournament, who is one of the most prestigious outside of the Grand Slams in terms of ranking points and prize money awarded, is taking place more than six months later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest development has raised further doubt over the prospect that Barty will defend her title at the WTA Finals in November. The season-ending championships has been relocated from its usual home of Shenzhen, China to Guadalajara, Mexico due to the pandemic.

Craig Tyzzer, who is Barty’s coach, told the Australian Associated Press two weeks ago that the reigning Wimbledon champion may skip the WTA Finals due to the conditions and time of year it is taking place. In Barty’s native Australia she is required to spend two weeks in quarantine upon arrival back into the country and therefore the later she returns, the less time she will have to prepare during the off-season.

“It certainly isn’t easy for us to get there and to play that event in Mexico and then to come back and have to do two (more) weeks (in quarantine) and then your summer is sort of ruined as well. It’s a decision we’ll have to sit and mull over quite a bit.” Said Tyzzer.

So far this season Barty has achieved a win-loss record of 42-8 and has won five WTA titles which is more than any other player on the WTA Tour. Besides lifting her second major trophy at Wimbledon, she also triumphed at tournaments in Melbourne, Miami, Stuttgart and Cincinnati. Barty also currently leads the 2021 WTA Prize Money leaderboard with earnings of $3,945,182.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis wins his first career title in Adelaide

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Australian star Thanasi Kokkinakis came back from one set down to edge Arthur Rinderknech 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in his home city after 2 hours and 38 minutes in the final of the Adelaide International 2. 

 

The match was dominated by serve. Kokkinakis hit 18 aces and won 90% of his first serve points. Neither player was able to earn a single break point or a mini-break until the final point of the first set tie-break, when Rinderknech sealed it as Kokkinakis hit a crosscourt forehand into the net. 

The second set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Rinderknech earned an early mini-break at the start of the second tie-break. Kokkinakis rallied from 0-2 down to take a 5-2 lead with three mini-breaks. Rinderknech pulled one mini-break for 3-5,  but Kokkinakis closed out the tie-break 7-5 on his third set point. 

Kokkinakis earned two breaks in the first and ninth games to seal the third set 6-3.  

Kokkinakis reached a career-high of number 69 at the age of 19-year-old player in 2015. This week he came through a three tie-break match against John Isner in the first round and beat Alexander Vukic in a three-set match in the quarter final and a 2-point tie-break against Marin Clic in the semifinal en route to the final. 

“I would not want to win my first title anywhere else. To my family, friends and coaches, what a ride it’s been. You have seen me at my lowest lows and now the highest high. It’s been a serious journey. For now I am so happy. I have been playing on this court since I was eight or nine years,  old, coming here before school every day. I love this court so much”, said Kokkinakis. 

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Aslan Karatsev claims his third career title after a straight-set win over Andy Murray in Sydney

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Aslan Karatsev beat Andy Murray 6-3 6-2 to seal the third ATP Tour title in his career at the Sydney Tennis Classic. 

 

Karatsev has won three of his four career ATP Tour finals in Dubai, Moscow and Sydney and finished runner-up to Matteo Berrettini in Belgrade in 2021. Last year the Russian player came through the qualifying round to reach the semifinals at the Australian Open on his debut. He reached a career-high World number 15 after winning his second career title in Moscow last October. He beat Lorenzo Sonego and Daniel Evans in three sets to reach the Sydney final this week. 

“First of all, congratulations to Andy. It’s a big effort to come back, to play unbelievable this week. I want to congratulate your team. Thank you very much to my team. We are doing an amazing job. Thank you very much to everybody here for coming to support. It was an unbelievable atmosphere in a difficult situation. It’s a difficult time to make this tournment happen, so thank you to everyone”, said Karatsev. 

Karatsev earned his first break in Murray’s first service game and consolidated it with a hold at love. The world number 20 hit 14 winners to 4 unforced errors in the opening set. 

Karatsev sealed the first set 6-3 with a double break, as Murray made two double faults. 

Karatsev broke Murray for the third time at the start of the second set to take a 2-0 lead. Murray hit an ace in the fourth game to claw his way back to 1-3 and earned his first break points of the match in the fifth game. Karatsev saved five break points in a 13-minute fifth game to hold serve for 4-1. Karatsev made a double fault on his first match point, but he closed out the win on his second opportunity after 91 minutes. Murray reached his first final since October 2019. 

“I would like to congratulate Aslan on a fantastic week. I know he also arrived here late in Australia. He was recovering from Covid, so it’s even more impressive to come back straight away and play at that level. Good job and all the best for the Aussie Open”, said Murray.  

John Peers and and Filip Polasek beat 2015 Australian Open doubles champions Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli 7-5 7-5 in the doubles final. Peers won the 24th doubles final of his career. Polasek claimed 17 titles, including last year’s Australian Open trophy with Ivan Dodig. 

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Madison Keys beats Alison Riske to win the sixth title of her career in Adelaide

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Former top 10 player Madison Keys cruised past her compatriot Alison Riske 6-1 6-2 in 66 minutes in the final of the Adelaide international 2 to claim the sixth WTA Tour title in her career. 

 

Keys never faced a break point in the final and dropped just 14 points in eight service games. She earned two breaks in the fourth and sixth games of the first set and in the first and seventh games of the second set. 

Keys has improved her record in WTA singles titles to 6-5. The US player, who entered the Adelaide tournament at World number 87, will return to the top 60 by winning this title. The 2015 Australian Open semifinalist beat three seeds Elina Svitolina, Liudmila Samsonova and Coco Gauff earlier this week. She needed three sets to beat Samsonova in the quarter final and Gauff in the semifinal. 

Keys has extended her lead to 6-1 in her seven head-to-head matches against Riske. Keys won four of their previous head-to-head matches in three sets and one in straight sets with the scoreline of 6-2 6-2 in Rome in 2014. 

“I am really happy with how today went. I think I started really well and just had the momentum. There were a couple of opportunities where the momentum could have switched, and I think I did a really good job of regrouping and continuing to focus on my side of the court. I am really happy to get the win”, said Keys. 

Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya saved a match point in the second set to beat Tereza Martincova and Marketa Vondrousova 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 10-7 in the match tie-break in the doubles final. Hozumi and Ninomiya were playing their first final as a team since they finished runner-up in the 2018 Roland Garros doubles final. 

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