Grand Slam Glory Is The Main Goal For America’s Coco Gauff - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam Glory Is The Main Goal For America’s Coco Gauff

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Cori Gauff - Australian Open 2023 (Twitter @AustralianOpen)

 Coco Gauff has big aspirations and she isn’t afraid to speak openly about them. 

 

Following her second round win over Julia Grabher at the French Open on Thursday, the 19-year-old played down the fixation on her current ranking which is No.6 in the world. Gauff admits that her position is something that doesn’t concern her in the sport unless she is sitting at the top of the world rankings. 

“I’m not a ranking person at all. The goal is No.1, and I think that’s when I would care about the ranking,” she stated in her press conference. 
“Anything in between two and 10, I mean, I’m going to be honest, it’s not that important to me.”

Gauff first broke into the world’s top 10 in September 2022 and has remained there ever since. At the time she was the youngest top 10 debutant on the WTA Tour since Nicole Vaidisova in 2006. She has been ranked as high as No.4 in the world.

“When I made the top 10, it was a cool accomplishment, but for me it was never about staying there. I only want to go upwards,” she said. “The biggest goal is to win Grand Slams, and I think the ranking will come with Grand Slams.”

It was 12 months ago at Roland Garros where Gauff achieved her best performance at a major by reaching the final before losing in straight sets to Iga Swiatek. The tournament is her best Grand Slam in terms of match wins (13) and is the only one where she has reached the quarter-finals or better on multiple occasions. Gauff also won the French Open girls’ title back in 2018 at the age of just 14. 

Five years on from the junior triumph, she has become a regular fixture on the Tour. So much so, that there is already another generation of players on the rise. One of those includes Russia’s Mirra Andreeva who says her ultimate goal in tennis is to break Novak Djokovic’s all-time Grand Slam title record which currently stands at 22. Andreeva, who is only the seventh player under the age of 17 to reach the third round of Roland Garros since 1993, will be Gauff’s next opponent. 

“I think she knows the game well, and she’s proved her position to be here and proved in her results in the past, so I don’t think the age thing matters,” Gauff commented on her next opponent. 
“I’ve never thought about my age, to be honest. This will be my third time playing someone younger than me.
“Honestly, the first two times I didn’t even think about it because when you step on the court, you just see your opponent, and you don’t really think about the personal side of things. You just see forehand, backhand, serve, and all the same.”

Gauff will play Andreeva on Saturday. 

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Elena Rybakina cruises past Zheng Qinwen in Beijing

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Former Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina cruised past Chinese number 1 player Zheng Qinwen 6-1 6-2 in exactly one hour in the first round at the China Open in Beijing. 

 

Rybakina was playing her first match since her third round defeat against Sorana Cristea at the US Open last month. Zheng won the Asian Games on home soil in Hangzhou. 

Rybakina has won two WTA 1000 titles in Indian Wells and Rome and 24 matches at WTA 1000 tournaments. 

Rybakina beat Zheng 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 in the third round at Wimbledon 2022 en route to her first 

Rybakina won the first nine points and broke twice in the second and fourth games to race out to a 4-0 lead. Zheng held on her service game, as she was serving at 5-0, but Rybakina closed out the first set with a forehand winner. 

Rybakina broke twice in the third and fifth games and closed out the match with a love hold. 

Rybakina set up a semifinal match against Tatjana Maria, who lost to Ons Jabeur in the semifinal of the 2022 Wimbledon tournament. 

“The first matches are always difficult. I played my last match at the US Open, so I was a bit nervous because I did not have so many matches in the past few weeks. I was feeling well on the practices. I was just trying to focus point by point, focus on my serve, which is not affected by the opponent. I started the match pretty well, so it gave me confidence for the whole game”, said Rybakina. 

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ATP

Tennis Player Disqualified From Shanghai Qualifying Match Two Points Away From Victory

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Image via https://twitter.com/ATPChallenger/

It will be a match that Australia’s Marc Polmans will never forget but for all the wrong reasons.

 

The World No.140 looked to be on the verge of victory against Italy’s Stefano Napolitano when leading their match 7-6(3), 6-6(6-5), in the final round of qualifying at the Shanghai Masters. However, disaster struck at the next point when Polmans temper got the better of him and subsequently cost him.

With match point, he approached the net to hit a backhand shot but it ended up in the net. Prompting the frustrated 26-year-old to hit a tennis ball that unfortunately hit the umpire. As a result of that action, he was automatically disqualified from the match which handed Napolitano the victory and a place in the main draw.

It is not the first time a tennis player has been disqualified for such an incident. During a 2017 Davis Cup tie between Canada and Great Britain, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified for firing a tennis ball that hit the umpire’s eye. Novak Djokovic was also disqualified from the 2020 US Open after hitting a ball that accidentally struck a lines judge.

“Players shall not violently, dangerously or with anger hit, kick or throw
a tennis ball while on the grounds of the tournament site except in the reasonable pursuit of a point during a match (including warm-up),
” the 2023 ATP rulebook outlines.
“For purposes of this rule, abuse of balls is defined as intentionally or reckless- ly hitting a ball out of the enclosure of the court, hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with disregard of the conse- quences.’
“Violation of this section shall subject a player to a fine of up to $350 for each violation. In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall be penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule.”

It is a tough lesson for Polmans to learn. He was on the verge of playing in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career. He is currently the 10th highest-ranked Australian player on the ATP Tour and reached the final of a Challenger event in Guangzhou, China last month.

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Grand Slam

Australian Open To Become 15-Day Event In Bid To Minimise Late-Night Finishes

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Next year’s Australian Open will get underway on a Sunday following feedback from both players and fans.

 

For the first time in history, the Melbourne Grand Slam will take place over 15 days in a move that has been done to minimize the chances of late-night finishes at the tournament. In the past players and fans have criticised organisers for matches going on until the early hours. In this year’s edition, Andy Murray’s second round clash against Thanassi Kokkinakis didn’t finish until 4am.

Under the plan, first round matches will be spread over three days instead of two. Something that is already done in Paris at the French Open. Some data has shown that there is a growing trend in matches lasting longer.

“We’ve listened to feedback from the players and fans and are excited to deliver a solution to minimise late finishes while continuing to provide a fair and equitable schedule on the stadium courts,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said.
“The additional day will achieve this, benefiting scheduling for fans and players alike. The first round will now be played over three days instead of two, also giving fans an extra day of unbelievable tennis, entertainment, food and family fun.
“Every year our team works hard to bring fans an event that feels new and exciting, and this is another opportunity to grow what is already the biggest annual sporting event in the world in January.”

Another change is that day sessions on the Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena will feature a minimum of two matches instead of three. However, the night sessions will remain the same at two matches and no changes will be made to the John Cain Arena schedule. Overall, the number of sessions in the three areas will increase from 47 to 52 in 2024.

Meanwhile, organizers said next week a raft of exciting initiatives will be announced by the Australian Open before tickets go on sale on October 12th. It is unclear as to what these initiatives will be.

The 2024 Australian Open will take place at Melbourne Park between 14-28 January. Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka are the current champions.

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