WTA Confident Peng Shuai’s Email Responses Were Written Under The Influence Of Others - UBITENNIS
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WTA Confident Peng Shuai’s Email Responses Were Written Under The Influence Of Others

The governing body says it is ‘clear’ that the tennis player didn’t write them independently amid fears she has been censored by authorities.

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The Women ‘s Tennis Association (WTA) says they remain deeply concerned that former world No.1 doubles player Peng Shuai is being censored by Chinese authorities.

 

In a statement sent to the Associated Press on Saturday, the WTA has dismissed the authenticity of two emails which the two-time Grand Slam champion has sent to them. Saying they have suspicions that it was written under the influence of others. Both of those emails have been leaked on social media by either state-control Chinese media or by a person who claims to be a ‘long-time friend’ of hers.

Concerns over Shuai’s safety and whereabouts started on November 2nd after a post uploaded to her Weibo account accused former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual abuse. The post was removed within an hour of it going live and her account has since been restricted. In the couple weeks that followed Shuai wasn’t seen in public which prompted fears she had been detained by officials. In a bid to quash those concerns videos and photos of the tennis star was posted online by either journalists or media outlets which are under the control of the country’s communist party.

“Steve Simon has reached out to Peng Shuai via various communication channels,” the WTA told AP.
“He has sent her two emails, to which it was clear her responses were influenced by others. He remains deeply concerned that Peng is not free from censorship or coercion and decided not to re-engage via email until he was satisfied her responses were her own, and not those of her censors. The WTA remains concerned about her ability to communicate freely, openly, and directly.”

The only international sporting body to have spoken with Shuai since the allegations came to light have been the International Olympic Committee who held a video call with her a week ago. However, some have criticised the IOC over their approach to the matter and their subsequent statement which made no referenced to her accusations of sexual assault.

Tomas Bach, who is the president of the IOC, recently said that he was confident that the tennis star was safe and well because she gave a ‘relaxed impression’ during their video call.

“We also offered a meeting when we come in January and this video call and this 30-minutes’ conversation gave a relaxed impression we can all conclude that she is safe and well,” Bach said during an online interview with the AIPS Young Reporters group. ”But we will keep in contact and this is why we proposed to have a meeting there in January when we come to Beijing. She was telling us that she was with her family and friends and wants to be involved in her beloved sport of tennis.”

Also in attendance during the video call was Li Lingwei who is a former athlete that has since worked in various governing roles within China. This includes being a Representative of the Chinese People’s Congress (1998-2003, 2013-) and a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Congress (2013-2018).

The WTA has threatened to pull their tournaments out of China should their concerns about Shuai’s welfare not be addressed to their satisfaction.

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Jannik Sinner reaches the third round at the Australian Open for the first time in his career

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Eleventh-seed Jannik Sinner cruised past Steve Johnson 6-2 6-4 6-3 on Margaret Arena after 1 hour and 43 minutes to advance to the third round at the Australian Open for the first time in his third appearance of his career at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Sinner fired 29 winners and broke five times. 

 

“It’s a real pleasure to play here. I played on this pitch against Shapovalov in the first round last year. I love playing in Australia, so having a night game is very special”, said Sinner. 

Sinner raced out to a 4-0 lead with a double break and closed it out on his first set point after 26 minutes. The 20-year-old Italian star earned a decisive break in the ninth game to seal the 41-minute second set 6-4. 

Sinner broke serve in the first game of the third set to take a 2-1 lead. The world number 11 faced a break point in the fourth game to hold serve after three deuces. The Italian star held serve at love in the eighth game, when Johnson hit a backhand return into the net. The Italian star closed out the third set with his second break, when Sousa hit his forehand into net. 

“I started the match very well, which gave me a lot of confidence. When I had to break in every set, I was quite relaxed. I tried to stay focused on my service games which I think I have done. I am very happy to be through in three sets. It was not easy to play against him. We had already played twice, and I tried to return his serves because his first serve is very precise This was my first goal, and obviously trying to mix up a little bit the game, try to move him. I think I was solid. I had a couple of break chances which I used, so I am very happy”, said Sinner. 

Sinner set up a third round match against Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel, who beat Andy Murray 6-4 6-4 6-4. Daniel has already beat four Italian players this year, but Sinner has not dropped a set in his five matches this year. 

“Taro Daniel has reached the third round because he is playing very well. I did not know that he had already beaten four Italian players this year. It is not easy to beat them. Matches are always tough at any level. Daniel beat Murray and it is not easy to win against the Scotsman. I lost against Murray last year in Stockolm”, said Sinner. 

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Danka Kovinic becomes the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament

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Danka Kovinic has become the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament after a 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over last year’s US Open champion and number 17 seed Emma Raducanu after 2 hours and 38 minutes on Margaret Court Arena in the second round at the Australian Open. 

 

Kovinic had lost in the second round in her six previuos appearances at a Grand Slam tournament. The World number 98 recorded her fourth career top 20 win and her first on hard-court. 

Raducanu broke serve in the opening game and cruised into a 3-0 lead with a double break. Kovinic bounced back by winning the next two games to claw her way back to 2-3, before Raducanu took was hampered by a blister on her raquet hand and took a medical time-out for treatment on her hand. Raducanu double faulted, as Kovinic broke again to draw level to 3-3. Kovinic completed the turnaround by winning five consecutive games to take a 5-3 lead. Raducanu broke for the third time for 4-5, but Kovinic closed out the first set 6-4. 

Raducanu opened up a 3-1 lead in the second set with an early break in the first game but Kovinic broke back in the eighth  game to draw level to 4-4 . Raducanu broke for the second time in the ninth game with two consecutive forehand winners to take a 5-4 lead. The British teenager fended off two break points in the 10th game to clinch the second set 6-4. 

Raducanu missed four break points in the first and third games of the third set. Kovinic converted her break point in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Raducanu broke straight back at love in the fifth game. Kovinic broke for the second time in the sixth game with a lob to take a 4-2 lead and sealed the win on her second match point with a backhand winner down the line. 

Kovinic was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo due to calf and back injuries. 

“Basically only one good result was in Charleston last year. Everything else was really struggling and trying to recover my body for next events, which I wasn’t really successful. I was rushing a little bit, so I never really healed my back injury, but I took some time during the pre-season to really take care of that, so hopefully that’s in the past”, said Danka Kovinic. 

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Andrey Rublev, Alex De Minaur and Taylor Fritz reach the third round at the Australian Open

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Andrey Rublev eased past Ricardas Berankis 6-4 6-2 6-0 in 1 hour and 24 minutes to advance to the third round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. 

 

Rublev earned breaks in the opening game of each set and did not face any break points.

Rublev set up a third round match against Marin Cilic, who beat Slovakian qualifier Norbert Gombos 6-2 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6). If Rublev beats Cilic, he could be on a collision course for a possible quarter final clash against his compatriot Danil Medvedev.

Rublev, who reached the quarter finals at Grand Slam level four times in his career, is aiming to reach his first semifinal in a Major tournament. 

Taylor Fritz beat Francis Tiafoe 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5) in an all-American clash to set up a third round clash against Roberto Bautista Agut, who cruised through Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-1 6-0 6-3. Fritz hit a backhand winner down the line to convert his match point. 

“Frances is one of my really good friends, and he is such a good guy. I said before the tournament too. He is probably one of the most dangerous unseeded players in the draw. I just keep playing my game, keep playing aggressive, like that last point. I have a really tough match next round, but it would be awesome to have a deep run here”, said Fritz. 

Alex De Minaur beat Kamil Majchrzak 6-4 6-4 6-2. The Australian player has now won six consecutive sets at the Australian Open this year after dropping the first set against Lorenzo Musetti in the opening round. De Minaur will take on Spain’s Pablo Andujar, who beat Slovakian wild card Alex Molcan 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 0-6 6-1. 

“For me to be able to play on Rod Laver Arena and at this stage on my merits, it’s not because I am playing one of the top guys, that’s a pretty cool feeling. It was a very solid win. I did everything I neeeded to do. I got the job done. I am very happy with my effort”, said De Minaur. 

Daniel Evans received a walkover into the third round when Arthur Rinderknech withdrew before the match with a wrist injury. 

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