Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon due to achilles injury
(Tennis news) Former world number 1 Naomi Osaka has announced her withdrawal from Wimbledon due to an achilles injury. The four time Grand Slam winner picked up the injury at the Madrid Open and will miss out on the prestigious grass court even for the third consecutive year, having chosen not to participate last year due to mental health reasons while the tournament was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The 24 year old last played in the first round of the French Open and had already announced that her participation at Wimbledon was doubtful since the tournament was stripped off its ranking points in 2022. In a statement released on Twitter, Osaka said “My Achilles still isn't right so I'll see you next time. After the storm comes the calm. This is a saying that I'm actively trying to master.
"I feel like life keeps dealing cards and you're never gonna be used to them but it's how you adapt to uncomfortable situations that really says stuff about your character. I've been repeating mantras in my head a lot recently. I don't know if it's to subconsciously help myself through stressful times or to ease my mind into realising that everything will work out fine as long as I put the work in. Cause what more can you do?"
In other news, Eugenie Bouchard has also opted to not participate at Wimbledon due to the tournament having no ranking points. The 28 year old’s ranking dropped due to a shoulder injury but was still allowed to participate at the grass court event. The 2014 runner-up said in a statement: "As much as I love Wimbledon, and skipping it makes me sad, using a PR [priority ranking] entry at a tournament with no ranking points doesn't make sense. I must choose wisely and use my PR entries at tournaments that will help me get back to where I want to be. I will now use my two Grand Slam PR entries for the US Open and Australian Open."
Rafael Nadal progresses to the French Open final while Ruud defeats Cilic
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal reached the finals of the French Open after his opponent Alexander Zverev was forced off injured after turning his right angle on the final point of the 12th game of the second set. The Spaniard was leading 7-6 (10-8) 6-6 when Zverev was taken on a wheelchair following his fall. Nadal will take on Casper Ruud in the Roland Garros final on Sunday after the Norwegian defeated Marin Cilic in the semi-finals.
In the post game interview, Nadal said “It is very tough and I feel very sad for him. He was playing an unbelievable tournament. I know how much he is fighting for a Grand Slam - he will win more than one. I wish him all the very best. It is difficult to say a lot of things in this situation. For me to be in the final of Roland Garros is a dream but at the same time to finish that way is not nice. I was in a small room with Sascha [in the treatment room off court] and to see him crying was a tough moment."
In the second semi-final, Casper Ruud became the first Norwegian player to reach a Grand Slam single’s final after defeating Marin Cilic 3-6 6-4 6-2 6-2. The 33 year old Croatian was playing in his first major semi-final since losing the 2018 Australian Open final. However, the 23 year old Ruud broke Cilic’s serve in the third game of the second set and Cilic failed to capitalize on three chances to get it back on serve in the 10th game of the set. Ruud was 4-1 ahead in the sixth game of the third set before a protestor caused a 15-minute delay at Court Philippe Chatrier.
Speaking in the on-court interview after the match, Ruud said “Rafa has been my idol all of my life. He is the last of the big three top players in the world that I've never played with so it's perfect timing to play him in a Grand Slam final and it will be a special moment for me. He is playing a student from his academy so it's going to be a fun one. It's something I've dreamed of."
Andy Murray to play at Queen's Club and Surbiton grass court events
(Tennis news) Former men’s World Number 1 and three time major champion Andy Murray will be featuring at the Queen’s Club, thanks to a wildcard entry on June 13th, having previously won six ATP Tour titles at the event and will also be competing for the Surbiton trophy on May 29th, in hopes of preparing for Wimbledon next month. The Scottish player will feature alongside fellow Brits Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans, Jack Draper, Joe Salisbury, Neal Skupski, Jamie Murray, Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid.
Murray said “I'm really looking forward to playing at Surbiton and Queen's this year - two great events. It's always special playing on the grass in front of a home crowd." Cameron Norrie, who won the Indian Wells Masters in October 2021 will be hoping to go one step further than last time, having lost in the finals of the Queen’s Club in the last iteration. Dan Evans reached the quarter-finals of the Queen’s Club the last time while Jack Draper was a wildcard entry in 2021 and reached the last eight of the competition.
Wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, who won the Australian Open singles and doubles earlier this year will be partnering with Gordon Reid at the Queen’s Cup. Leon Smith, Head of Men's Tennis at the LTA and Davis Cup captain said “To see so many of our British players thriving at the top of the game highlights the progress our sport has made in recent years, and it will be fantastic to see so many of them taking to the grass courts for the LTA's summer events.
"In a year that has seen Cam Norrie break into the top ten of the ATP rankings, Dan Evans and Andy Murray serve up some great performances, Joe Salisbury rise to No.1 spot in the doubles rankings, Neal Skupski win his first ATP 1000 event and Jack Draper continues to make such great progress, there is so much to look forward to this summer in our grass courts events leading into Wimbledon."
On the doubles court, Joe Salisbury, who is a two-time majors champion along with Miami Masters winner Neal Skupski and seven-time major champion Jamie Murray will also be representing Great Britain on the doubles court.
Djokovic and other unvaccinated players to feature at Wimbledon
(Tennis news) Wimbledon organisers have confirmed that players unvaccinated against COVID-19 will be permitted to participate in this year’s tournament. This means that World Number 1 Novak Djokovic will be competing in the tournament and attempt to defend his title, after defeating Italy's Matteo Berrettini in last year's final to win the Wimbledon title for the sixth time.
Chief executive of the All England Club, Sally Bolton, said: "The requirements set out by the government to enter the UK do not include mandatory vaccination, therefore whilst of course it is encouraged, it will not be a condition of entry to compete at the Championships this year." Earlier this year, the Serbian was deported from Australia due to his vaccination status and couldn’t compete at the Australian Open as well as enter the United States for any tournament.
"We are planning to return to a normal Championship this year. And so we don't intend to implement any of the Covid-19 measures that we saw last year in any substantial fashion. But we are, of course, keeping it on our radar in case we need to take further action when we continue to engage with DCMS, public health officials and with other sports. But this means that players will be able to return to their own choice of accommodation. We will see full capacity crowds for the whole event. And we're absolutely thrilled to welcome back the wider tennis family to Wimbledon this year."
Despite the lack of competitive action so far, Djokovic will undoubtedly be one of the favourites to win his seventh Wimbledon title. With most countries relaxing their COVID-19 regulations, the Serbian can now expect an almost full calendar in the clay and grass events. The Wimbledon Championship will begin from 27 June to 10 July.
Emma Raducanu splits with coach Torben Beltz after just five months
(Tennis news) After only five months together, British tennis star Emma Raducanu has parted ways with her coach Torben Beltz. In a statement released by Raducanu, she said “I want to thank Torben for his coaching, professionalism and dedication over the last half a year. He has a huge heart and I have enjoyed our strong chemistry during the time together. "I feel the best direction for my development is to transition to a new training model with the LTA supporting in the interim."
This means that Raducanu is now once again on a hunt for a new coach, her fourth in a year. The US Open champion appointed Beltz after splitting with Andrew Richardson, who guided her at New York and worked alongside the 19 year old at Bromley Tennis Centre. Before that, Raducanu was coached by Nigel Sears who helped her reach the fourth round of Wimbledon last summer.
Raducanu had previously mentioned that she was looking for a more experienced coach after her US Open win and subsequently announced her partnership with Beltz in November 2021. The German had parted ways with Angelique Kerber in a partnership that had lasted a decade and had helped her reach the top 10 for the first time before their first split in 2013. The pair reunited in 2016 when Kerber won the Australian and US Open, reached the Wimbledon final, received a silver medal at the Olympics and was crowned World Number 1.
Raducanu’s announcement comes after her best week since hiring Torben Beltz, winning consecutive matches on clay at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. The 19 year old has a history of switching coaches frequently, right from her junior days when she was ranked 11 and will now depend on the Lawn Tennis Association for the time being until a new coach is hired.
Royal Challengers Bangalore need Harshal boost to get campaign back on track against DC
Mumbai, Apr 15 (Cricket News) Their winning streak halted by the defending champions, Royal Challengers Bangalore will hope Harshal Patel returns to the playing XI and contribute in bringing their campaign back on track when they face Delhi Capitals in an IPL match here on Saturday.
RCB were flying high with three successive wins before Chennai Super Kings outwitted them by 23 runs in their last outing.
It was absence of Harshal which hurt the team as skipper Faf du Plessis looked out of options to control the rampaging duo of Shivam Dube and Robin Uthappa, who took the bowlers to the cleaners as CSK posted a huge total on board.
Known for his variations and death bowling skills, Harshal is a vital cog in RCB's wheels and Du Plessis had admitted that the team missed his services after he left the bio-bubble on Sunday following the death of his cousin.
"You see the value of Harshal, and what he offers. He has the ability to stop the game. We missed that tonight, we had a similar tone to the bowling. We lacked the variety we needed in our attack. Hopefully, we can have him soon again," du Plessis had said after their loss to CSK.
The 31-year-old from Haryana, who had taken 32 wickets in the 2021 edition, has emerged as one of the best T20 bowlers with his variations, which include off-cutters and slower ones, bowled with variable arm speed.
This season too, Harshal has snapped six wickets from four games at an economy of just 5.50 and remains the go-to-man for du Plessis whenever the going gets tough.
Among others, pace duo of Mohammad Siraj and Akash Deep has been taken for runs, while Wanindu Hasaranga claimed two wickets but he bled 35 in three overs in the last match.
Spin duo of Glenn Maxwell and Shahbaz too was blown away and skipper Du Plessis will expect a better show from his bowlers on Saturday.
In batting, Du Plessis and young left-hander Anuj Rawat have given the team good starts, while Dinesh Karthik has played the role of the finisher well. Engineer-turned cricketer Shahbaz Ahmed too has impressed with his batting so far.
Former skipper Virat Kohli has blown hot and cold with two 40 plus scores but lacked consistency.
The Capitals, on the other hand, are heading into the match after a massive 44-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders.
With two back-to-back fifties, opener Prithvi Shaw has been in sensational form, while seasoned Australian opener David Warner has provided the team solidity at the top as he provided the fireworks to set DC's massive win over KKR.
The number three spot, however, remains a concern with none of the batter tried by the team able to grab the chance. Skipper Rishabh Pant too will expect more runs from his batting.
Spinner Kuldeep Yadav has emerged as their top bowler with 10 wickets so far, while pacer Khaleel Ahmed too has taken seven scalps in three games.
South African Anrich Nortje, who looked rusty in his only outing, also remains an option, while Delhi also have plenty of bowling all-rounders such as Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur and Lalit Yadav to count on.
However, Rovman Powell has looked subdued so far and DC would expect more from him.
With four out of five matches ending in a win for the team batting second, toss might also be a key factor at the Wankhade stadium.
Teams (From): Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (Captain), Ashwin Hebbar, David Warner, Mandeep Singh, Prithvi Shaw, Rovman Powell, Anrich Nortje, Chetan Sakariya, Khaleel Ahmed, Kuldeep Yadav, Lungi Ngidi, Mustafizur Rahman, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Lalit Yadav, Mitchell Marsh, Pravin Dubey, Ripal Patel, Sarfaraz Khan, Vicky Ostwal, Yash Dhull, KS Bharat and Tim Seifert.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammed Siraj, Faf du Plessis, Harshal Patel, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dinesh Karthik, Josh Hazlewood, Shahbaz Ahmed, Anuj Rawat, Akash Deep, Mahipal Lomror, Finn Allen, Sherfane Rutherford, Jason Behrendorff, Suyash Prabhudesai, Chama Milind, Aneeshwar Gautam, Karn Sharma, David Willey, Rajat Patidar, Siddharth Kaul.
Match starts at 7.30 PM.
Also Read : Mumbai Indians in search of perfect eleven as they take on powerful Lucknow Super Giants
News Source : PTI
Victoria to host 2026 Commonwealth Games across cities; shooting, wrestling not in initial list of sports
London, Apr 12 (Sports News) Victoria will host the 2026 Commonwealth Games with the Australian state's regional centres organising the majority of events in a break from the traditional single host city model.
The Games will be staged in March 2026 across multiple cities and regional hubs including Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, each with its own athletes' village.
The opening ceremony will take place at the iconic 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) announced on Tuesday.
The announcement follows an exclusive dialogue period between the CGF, Commonwealth Games Australia (CGAus) and Victoria.
An initial list of 16 sports, including Twenty20 cricket, have been put forward for the Games, with further sports to be added later this year.
The initial list, however, does not feature disciplines such as shooting and wrestling, sports in which India has done well in the previous editions of the sporting extravaganza.
Archery also does not feature in the list.
Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews said: "It's a great honour to have Victoria chosen as the host venue for the 2026 Commonwealth Games - we can't wait to welcome the world to all of our state.
"The Commonwealth Games in regional Victoria is great for jobs, hospitality and our economy." Australia has staged the Commonwealth Games on five occasions, with Victoria playing host to the Melbourne 2006 Games; widely considered one of the most successful editions of the event in history.
The country has also staged the Games in Sydney in 1938, Perth in 1962, Brisbane in 1982 and most recently Gold Coast in 2018. Victoria has also hosted the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo in 2004.
CGF President Dame Louise Martin said: "The Commonwealth Games Federation is absolutely delighted to award the 2026 Commonwealth Games to Victoria.
"Commonwealth Games Australia and the Victorian Government have set out a bold and innovative vision for hosting our major multi-sport event. In Victoria, we believe we have found the perfect partner for the next stage of our journey." As per the CGF's new "strategic roadmap" unveiled at its 2021 General Assembly on October 11, athletics and swimming will be the only compulsory sports in the CWG from the 2026 edition, allowing host cities greater freedom to include disciplines of their choice from a proposed core list of 22 sports.
The proposed core list of the Commonwealth Games Federation after a review includes shooting, wrestling and archery. Disciplines that have previously been listed as optional sports such as T20 cricket, beach volleyball and 3x3 basketball were also brought under the proposed core list of sports.
The roadmap was approved at the CGF's General Assembly, which was held virtually last year.
The 2026 Games will be the 23rd edition of the major multi-sport competition, which first began in Hamilton, Canada in 1930.
Victoria is a world-leading major events and tourism destination. The state has a strong track record for staging high profile sporting competitions including The Australian Open tennis grand slam, the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup.
The state also regularly hosts elite cricket, golf and Australian Rules Football competition.
Also Read : India to host the 44th Chess Olympiad
News Source : PTI
Charles Leclerc wins Australian GP while Max Verstappen suffers DNF
(Motorsport) Championship leader Charles Leclerc put on an impressive display at Albert Park, leading the race from start to finish and winning the Australian Open for the first time in his career, a track that he has traditionally struggled on. Meanwhile, reigning champion Max Verstappen suffered another DNF (first one being in Bahrain) and was told to stop his Red Bull with 20 laps remaining when smoke began rising from his car. The points gap between the two drivers is now 34 and such was Ferrari’s dominance that any other result except for a Leclerc win would have been impossible and the F1-75 also managed to get the fastest lap of the race, helping the Monegasque driver amass 26 points.
Speaking after the race, Leclerc said “The car was incredible today. We are only at the third race so it is difficult to think about the championship. But we have a very strong car, a very reliable car too, and for now we have always been there. I hope it continues like this and if it does we will probably have chances for the championship, which makes me happy after the last two seasons, which have been difficult for the team.
“I have been in this situation in the junior categories but to be in it in F1 means a lot, especially after the last two years and especially with a team like Ferrari. It feels incredible. The mindset is a bit different compared to the last two years because now I know that underneath me I have a car that is capable of winning and I don't really have to overdo things to do something extremely special and spectacular to get one or two positions - because I know it is in the car and I just have to do the job."
One of the biggest challenges Ferrari will face now is to maintain their dominance in what is the longest Formula 1 season to date. Both Red Bull and Mercedes will be having upgrade packages implemented in their cars throughout the year and Ferrari will need to be up to the task if they want to win their first World Championship in over a decade. In the last three occasions when Ferrari has been a potential contender, they have failed to rise up to the challenge.
Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz had a disappointing weekend, finishing ninth in qualification and dropped positions early on with the hard tyre and braked too late in the final sector, resulting in his car running over the grass and into the gravel. Both Mercedes and McLaren capitalised on Sainz and Verstappen’s misfortune, with McLaren achieving their first double top 10 of the season as Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth and sixth. Despite showing promising signs with the Alpine, Fernando Alonso failed to finish in the top 10 while Alex Albon secured his first points of the season.
Australian GP race result: Top 10
1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
3) George Russell, Mercedes
4) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
5) Lando Norris, McLaren
6) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
7) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
8) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
9) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
10) Alex Albon, Williams
Berrettini undergoes surgery, to miss three ATP Masters 1000 events
(Tennis news) Italian tennis player Matteo Berrettini is set to miss three ATP Masters 1000 events after recovering from a minor surgery on his right hand. The 25 year old reached the final at Wimbledon last year, losing to Novak Djokovic and was eliminated from the semi finals of the Australian Open earlier this year. He also reached the first Masters 1000 final last year, losing to Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open.
In a statement released by Berrettini on Instagram, he said “Following advice from the medical experts, my team and I have decided that it is crucial I do not put time pressure on my recovery process. We have therefore decided I should withdraw from the Monte-Carlo, Madrid and Rome tournaments to ensure I give myself the proper amount of time to return at my highest level.
“Withdrawing from these events, particularly Rome, was an extremely tough decision, however it is the right one to ensure many more years of competing at the highest level for the biggest trophies. Thanks very much for all the support. My recovery process is on track and I look forward to seeing you on-court soon."
The Italian World Number 6 has won three of his last five ATP Tour titles on clay but has played only one event on the surface this year, losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the Rio De Janeiro quarter-finals.
Serena Williams hints at Wimbledon return while Tsonga to retire soon
(Tennis news) 23 time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams has hinted that she could make her long awaited comeback at Wimbledon, exactly a year after playing her last tournament. The 40 year old suffered an ankle injury in the first round and was forced to retire in tears against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. As a result, she missed the Tokyo Olympics, US Open and the Australian Open this year.
Speaking at an Instagram story with NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers at a Bitcoin conference in Miami, Williams said: "We've been talking about my comeback and he's been hyping me up and getting me ready for Wimbledon. Can't wait! Wimbledon's before the US Open, I've got to play Wimbledon first. Exciting!"
The tournament is set to take place from June 27 to July 10 this year and Williams has already won the prestigious event seven times, but hasn’t won the title since 2016. She last won a Grand Slam at the 2017 Australian Open and has been on a hunt for the 24th title of her career but has been hampered due to injuries, dropping to 246th in the WTA rankings.
Meanwhile, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has announced his intention to retire from professional tennis after the French Open this year. The 36 year old has suffered from injuries in recent years and only managed to get his second win in February since 2019, missing the entire 2020 season due to a back injury.
In a video shared on social media, Tsonga said “My head tells me, 'But you can play all your life,' and at the same time your body reminds you that your abilities to surpass yourself are no longer there. I hope that I will stay in shape before (the Roland Garros) and be able to be who I always have been at this tournament. The goal is to be myself, to be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga the tennis player.I have always set myself high goals to try to get what I can. For me, this will be the opportunity to do it one last time."
The Frenchman has won 18 ATP titles which include two Masters 1000 tournaments since he turned professional in 2004. He also won an Olympics silver medal at the London Games in 2012.
Want to learn how to play one-handed shots from Rishabh: Warner
Mumbai, Apr 6 (Cricket News) Back to the franchise where his IPL journey began, Australian opener David Warner is looking forward to learn the one-handed shots from his young Delhi Capitals skipper, Rishabh Pant.
The Australian started his IPL career with the Delhi franchise in 2009.
The southpaw is available for selection for Thursday's game against Lucknow Super Giants.
"I want to learn how to play the one-handed shots from Rishabh. He's a young guy learning the ropes of leadership and he has been an integral part of the Indian team as well. I am excited and I can't wait to be bat with him in the middle," Warner said in a statement.
Warner also spoke about the opportunity to work with head coach Ricky Ponting.
"Ricky has had a fair bit of success with DC. He was a great leader for Australia and now he has a lot of respect as a coach. I am looking forward to working with him." Speaking about the game against Lucknow Super Giants, the opening batter said, "We just need to put our best foot forward and play a complete game. Fielding is the biggest component of the game and if we can hold our catches and field as well as we can, then we can go a long way in this tournament."
Also Read : Kolkata Knight Riderswin toss, elect to bowl against Mumbai Indians
News Source : PTI
Hubert Hurkacz defeats Daniil Medvedev in the Miami Open
(Tennis news) Polish tennis player Hubert Hurkacz defeated Daniil Medvedev 7-6 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Miami Open, denying the Russian the opportunity to reclaim the World Number 1 ranking. Hurkacz won the first three games while Medvedev appeared unwell because of the heat and struggled on his first serve and suffered four double faults in the first set.
Medvedev attempted a comeback, fighting off two set points to hold the serve in the eighth game and breaking in the ninth, but Hurkacz maintained his composure during the tiebreak. In the second set, the Polish tennis player managed to break in the fifth game that lasted 11 minutes while the high temperature seemed to greatly affect Medvedev who complained of dizziness and requested assistance from his physiotherapists.
Speaking after the match, Hurkacz said “Playing Daniil is always fun but it's super competitive. "I was hitting my forehand a little better and I was returning better so that was big for me." In order to reclaim the World Number 1 rankings, Medvedev needed to reach the semi finals or higher in the Miami Open. Having claimed the top spot from Novak Djokovic earlier this season, the Russian was forced to concede it after his disappointing third round exit at the Indian Wells.
Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka is set to face Iga Swiatek of Poland in the final of the Miami Open after defeating Belinda Bencic 4-6 6-3 6-4. It will be the first time the Japanese tennis star will reach a finals since her 2021 Australian Open victory. Her opponent, Iga Swiatek is currently ranked 2nd and defeated American Jessica Pegula 6-2 7-5, becoming the first player to reach the finals of both American hard-court events since Victoria Azarenka, who won both tournaments in 2016.
Swiatek is on a 16-match winning streak and has won 18 consecutive sets but has not faced Osaka since 2019 where the Japanese player won in straight sets. Swiatek said “My second match on the WTA Tour, when I felt I was making a breakthrough, was against Osaka. Even though I lost that match, it inspired me to work harder because she was number one back then. Right now I feel like I am on a different level, so I can actually compete. I'm really excited."
Medvedev defeats Murray in the second round of the Miami Open
(Tennis news) World Number 2 Daniil Medvedev defeated Andy Murray in straight sets 6-4 6-2 to progress into the third round of the Miami Open. Medvedev, who finished runner up in the Australian Open, made an early breakthrough against Murray’s serve in the third game of the opening set and was in complete control of the match.
Murray, who has previously won the Miami Open twice in his career, was given a wildcard entry this time around but faced a formidable opponent in Medvedev who continued to dominate his serve while Murray failed to hold in the fifth and seventh game. The Russian secured his win when Murray’s backhand hit the net on a first match-point chance.
Meanwhile, fellow British tennis player Cameron Norrie defeated Frenchman Hugo Gaston 6-3, 7-5 to progress to the fourth round of the Miami Open. Norrie is the only British player at the tournament as Andy Murray, Dan Evans and Heather Watson were eliminated from the tournament on Saturday and the 26 year old is on course to break into the top 10 for the first time next week.
Norrie could have won the match in a more comfortable fashion, having recovered from dropping serve in the opening game to take a 5-3 lead. The British tennis player held five match points from his opponent's serve and another in the following game, but Gaston made his way back into the match, making the tie more exciting. However, Norrie managed to break serve again to move 6-5 in front while Gaston hit the net before his opponent clinched the match point.
Speaking after the match, Norrie said “It was one of those days where it was tough to close it out. I was a little bit stressed there. I managed to sneak through. I just got a little bit tentative and lost my feet and wasn't moving enough. I was really happy with how I responded to getting broken. He's a tricky guy. You feel like you need to be really aggressive otherwise he's going to throw in a drop shot at any moment. I think that's something I need to work on."
World No 1 Ashleigh Barty announces her shock retirement from tennis
(Tennis news) Current World No 1 Ashleigh Barty shocked the world when the 25 year old announced her retirement. The news sent shockwaves, not just in the tennis world but throughout the sporting industry because less than two months ago, she won the Australian Open for her third Grand Slam singles title and became the first Australian player in 44 years to triumph at the nation's Grand Slam tournament.
This is not the first time Barty has walked away from tennis. She was the Wimbledon junior champion at age 15 in 2011 and looked like she would choose tennis as her professional sport but left the tour entirely for nearly two years in 2014 because of burnout, as she was overwhelmed by the pressure and travel required during the tours. She came back home and started playing professional cricket in Australia, then eventually picked up a racket once again and returned to tennis.
Barty went on to win her first singles major championships on three different surfaces, first on clay at the 2019 French Open, then on grass at Wimbledon last year and recently won on the hard courts at Melbourne Park in January. Barty has gone on to win 15 tour level titles in singles and another 12 in doubles since first turning pro in 2010. She has spent 121 weeks at No. 1 in the rankings, including the past 114 in a row, which is quite an achievement since the women’s draw is quite competitive and open.
Her announcement was all the more shocking from an on-court perspective given that her recent run of success was quite extraordinary: Barty had won 25 of her past 26 matches and three of her past four events she participated in. Only one other woman who has walked away from the sport while being at the top of the WTA rankings was Justine Henin who was the former No. 1 when she retired in May 2008, after she spent around 61 weeks ranked at the top. Henin was also 25 at the time of her retirement, but she came back two years after her announcement, reaching the final of the 2010 Australian Open before stepping away for good in 2011.
"I'm so happy and I'm so ready. I just know at the moment, in my heart, for me as a person, this is right," Barty said. “It's the first time I've actually said it out loud and, yeah, it's hard to say.'' Barty said of her decision to retire, which she announced during an informal interview with her former doubles partner, Casey Dellacqua, "I don't have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level any more. I am spent.''
"I know I've done this before,'' Barty said with a laugh in the retirement video, "but with a very different feeling. I'm so grateful to everything that tennis has given me. It's given me all of my dreams, plus more, but I know that the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to, yeah, put the rackets down.'
"I'll never, ever, ever stop loving tennis,'' she said. "It will always be a massive part of my life, but now I think it's important I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete.'
"I am so supportive of Ash that she does what makes her happy,'' Goolagong Cawley told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I can't wait to see what happens in the next chapter of Ash's life, and what helps her achieve her dreams.''
Raducanu defeated Garcia to make winning start to Indian Wells
(Tennis news) Emma Raducanu made a winning start at the BNP Paribas Open in the Indian Wells after defeating Caroline Garcia 6-1 3-6 6-1. After passing a late fitness test, Raducanu overcame the World Number 69 and showed glimpses of the form that we had previously witnessed at the US Open.
In an on-court interview, Raducanu said “I'm so happy to have just got my first win in the desert here and I hope to come back for many more years. I think the level of tennis was pretty high today so it means a lot to come through that because it could have gone either way. To get this win after a stop-start year that I've had at the beginning means a lot and I'm really happy to have given myself another opportunity”
Raducanu was hampered by blisters at the Australian Open in the second round and she picked up an injury at Guadalajara in her season so far. The former World Number 4 was left bewildered by the 19 year old’s aggressive and accurate shot making. She maintained her high intensity in the opening game but then her level dropped, allowing Garcia the space to move 4-2 up. The British tennis player refocused and surged through the first three games, winning 12 points in a row from 3-1 up to claim a superb win.
Raducanu will face Petra Martic in the third round on Sunday in her next match, the Croatian upset 19th seed Tamara Zidansek 7-5 7-6 (8-6).
Novak Djokovic set to participate at the Monte Carlo ATP Masters
(Tennis news) Serbian tennis star and World Number 2 Novak Djokovic has confirmed his participation at the Monte Carlo ATP Masters as he looks to defend his French Open title. The 20 time Grand Slam winner couldn’t defend his Australian Open title due to the COVID-19 vaccination requirements in Australia and recently withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells as well as the Miami Open.
Djokovic is a resident of Monaco and the country allows international travellers with a proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the last six months. The Serbian had recently recovered from COVID-19 in December for the second time. A post on Djokovic’s website said “Novak will open his 2022 clay court season in Monte Carlo, where he won the Masters 1000 title twice, in 2013 and 2015.
The Monte Carlo Masters will take place from April 10th to 17th and will be the second tournament Djokovic will participate in during the 2022 season so far. The Serbian was recently eliminated from the quarter finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last month and will hope to regain his rank 1 in the foreseeable future.
Warner still believes Mankading is 'spirit of cricket issue and batter's fault'
Karachi, Mar 10 (Cricket News) Australian opener David Warner still believes run-out at non-striker's end is a "spirit of cricket issue and batter's fault" despite the MCC amending the code to remove it from unfair play laws.
Custodians of cricket laws, the Marylebone Cricket Club last week re-classified the controversial runout, from law 41's 'unfair play' and incorporated it within law 38 pertaining to legitimate run outs.
It's one of the nine changes that the MCC made which are set to be in effect from October 2022.
"I still think the history of the game suggests it's a spirit of cricket thing... You don't expect players to do that," Warner told Cricket Australia in Karachi ahead of the second Test against Pakistan beginning here on Saturday.
"I do agree with the fact that if you are backing up, and you're out of your crease by a long way (you are fair game).
"I think it happened more predominantly at the end of a white-ball 50-over games, or obviously in T20 cricket we've seen it but at the end of the day, as a batsman, you've got to stay in your crease.
"There's no doubt about that, and if you're silly enough to get caught out like that and run out, that's your own fault. You're told not to leave before the bowler lets the ball go, so just don't do it," Warner said.
The dismissal first came to be known when the legendary former India allrounder Vinoo Mankad twice ran out Australia opener Bill Brown at the non-striker's end -- once in a tour game against an Australia XI at the SCG in 1947, and then again in the second Test of the ensuing series.
The Australian media dubbed it as 'Mankading', a name which stuck in popular parlance but was vehemently opposed by legends like Sunil Gavaskar for being "disrespectful" towards Mankad.
Warner does not believe the switch from 'unfair' to 'legitimate' will stop some players from employing it.
"I think what's important for the game of cricket is that bowlers don't be looking for that, because then you're going to slow the game down even more," he said.
"I know from before, being a captain, it can be frustrating and you're taking time out of the game.
"So there's some areas there that need to be addressed, but that's on an individual basis," he added.
Requires zero skill: Broad ============= England fast bowler Stuart Broad also has endorsed Warner's views.
Responding to MCC's announcement, Broad wrote on Twitter "Hasn't it always been a legitimate dismissal and whether it is unfair is subjective? and added Mankad "requires zero skill".
Indian ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had ignited the debate about the tactic's legitimacy by dismissing England's Jos Buttler in an Indian Premier League match in 2019.
Also Read : Cheteshwar Pujara to play for Sussex during English summer
News Source : PTI
Novak Djokovic set to play French Open after change in vaccine rules
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic is most likely to play at Roland Garros this season after the new vaccine rules were imposed. France will be announcing new rules later this month which can provide a safe passage to the Serbian after a controversial Australian affair. Djokovic has only played 3 matches this year all at Dubai, he reached the quarterfinals and lost to Jiri Vesely.
With the decline in cases, Djokovic is expected to have a smooth run to the rest of the season after a tough opening month. By missing the Australian Open and losing his no 1 status, the 20 time Grand Slam winner will have positive results as places around the globe will go easy on the current restrictions. Djokovic had earlier said in an interview with BBC that he is willing to miss Wimbledon or Roland Garros because of his stance because of his principles but his rankings will be affected as he continues to miss events.
The 34 year old has now won 991 matches in his career, he needs 9 more matches to become the 5th player in history to have won 1000 or more matches. Rafael Nadal is in 4th place with 1043 wins, Roger Federer is in 2nd place with 1251 wins but the Spaniard has the highest win percentage of 83.31 and Djokovic comes in second with 83.21 percent.
Djokovic is also into his 19th year as a professional and hasn’t missed the French Open since making his debut at the event in 2005. He missed the Australian Open for the first time in 17 years as he had been playing at the event from 2005. This year’s clay major will witness Nadal coming back for revenge and Djokovic aiming for a 21st Slam to tie with Nadal. The 13 time French Open winner was beaten for the 2nd time by Djokovic in the semi final last year and this time, Nadal has the edge since he started the year with a 15 match win streak.
The world number 2 has been inviting criticisms about his stance on vaccination but has also received praises from former players for his bold and courageous decision. Roland Garros will be held in May and from March 14, spectators will not have to show their vaccination certificates to get access to stadiums in France. If there won’t be any change of rules by May then it is guaranteed that Djokovic will be able to defend his title.
Barty to miss Miami and Indian wells, Murray receives wildcard
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty has announced her withdrawal from Indian Wells and Miami events this month. Both the WTA 1000 events will be held back to back, Barty is the double defending champion in Miami. She has only played twice at Indian Wells and has not progressed beyond the fourth round. The world number 1 has won 11 matches this season along with two titles, she has only lost a single set so far against Cori Gauff in her opening match of the season at Sydney.
"I wanted to share an update on my schedule for the coming months," Barty said in a statement. "Unfortunately my body has not recovered the way I’d hoped after the Australian Open and I have not been able to adequately prepare for Indian Wells and Miami. I don’t believe I am at the level necessary to win these events and as a result I have decided to withdraw from both tournaments. I love these events and am sad not to be there competing but getting my body right must be my focus”.
The Australian has a healthy lead in the rankings as second place Barbora Krejcikova is almost 3000 points below her. Barty had won her third major at Australia a month back, she became the first from her country to win the title in 4 decades. Australian Open runner up Danielle Collins will also be missing the Indian Wells event due to an injury. Sofia Kenin will be seen in action in Indian Wells for the third time as she received a wildcard entry and will be looking to go beyond the second round for the first time.
In the ATP tour, Andy Murray will be playing at Indian Wells for the 14th time as he will play as a wildcard entry this season. Murray had first played at the tournament in 2006 where he reached the second round and lost to Nikolay Davydenko. The former world number 1 has already played 14 matches this year, he won 8 of them and reached the finals in Sydney.
The Indian Wells continues to remain the only hardcourt Masters 1000 title the right hander has not won. He had reached the finals in 2009 after beating Roger Federer but lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets to take the runner up trophy. Murray also reached the semifinals in 2007, 2015 and both times it was Novak Djokovic who emerged on the winning side. The 3 time Grand Slam winner hasn’t won a title in 3 years and hasn’t reached a Masters 1000 final in 6 years.
Daniil Medvedev ends Novak Djokovic’s reign in ATP rankings
(Tennis news) Daniil Medvedev will create history on 28th February when he captures the no 1 ranking on the ATP tour. Medvedev will become the first player outside the big four to take the top spot, the last time it happened was in 2004 when Andy Roddick was the world number one. Since then Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have never surrendered the top position in almost 18 years.
The 26 year old will become the third Russian after Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1999 and Marat Safin 2000-01 to ascend to the top of the rankings. Medvedev will also become the 27th player in history to achieve the number 1 ranking on the ATP the tour, Djokovic had been holding the spot for over a year and Medvedev had his chances last year during Wimbledon but could not capture it back then.
Djokovic was trying to win the title in Dubai as he had to do well in order to delay the takeover. Djokovic's loss to Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals confirmed the news for Medvedev who will take on Nadal in the semi final at Acapulco. An early loss for Medvedev and a deep run for Djokovic would have meant more time for the 20 time Grand Slam winner; while the current number 2 had to reach the final at Acapulco to confirm the ranking no matter what happened in Dubai.
The 2021 US Open winner first became number 2 in March 2021 but was floating around no 2 and 3 for a month, he has been sticking to number 2 since May. On Monday when the rankings will be released it will be a major change as the Serbian’s run will finally come to an end, the next gen has finally completed a key part of the mission.
Dominic Thiem’s US Open victory two years later opened the gates for the younger players as Medvedev made it bigger while beating Djokovic in a historic US Open final a few months ago. The last 2 years has seen the emergence of the next gen as they have won Grand Slams and now taken the rankings. Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open a month back, the next mission of the youngsters would be to win as many major titles as that will take care of the rankings and with time in their hands it will be a start of a new era.While there are still a lot of tournaments left in this season, it will be a positive change to the tennis community next week.
Vesely stops Djokovic in Dubai, Rublev looks for first win against Hurkacz
(Tennis news) Jiri Vesely recorded a historic win over Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Vesley now has 2 wins against Djokovic as the Serbian is yet to secure a win in their career head to head meetings. There were service breaks by both players in the first four games of the match after which the Czech held his serve with powerful backhands and disguised dropshots.
In the second set, the world number 123 had faster serves than the earlier set which made him finish the points early. Even though the world number 1 served more aces in the second set, the left hander was more aggressive and even had a front facing tweener to win the point. Vesley’s serve reached speeds of 225 km/hour in the second set and his average second serve was around 180 km/ hour while for Djokovic it was 153 km/ hour. Daniil Medvedev will ascend to the top of the rankings on monday as he will face Rafael Nadal in the semifinals at Acapulco.
“It is an amazing feeling,” Vesely said in his on-court interview. “I never really thought I would have a chance against Novak. He is one of the greatest of all time. After the past 12 months, it is unbelievable. I have so many emotions inside. It is hard to describe. It is an amazing feeling.”
Hubert Hurkacz entered the semifinals in Dubai for the first time with a straight set victory over Jannik Sinner. Hurkacz had reached the quarterfinals in 2019 where he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Polish number one who will face Andrey Rublev for a place in the final. In the quarterfinal, the 25 year old placed the ball perfectly whenever Sinner failed to hit it with his punishing speed. The 20 year old was broken thrice in the match but could not get a single break not even a breakpoint as the service games gave Hurkacz the lead in the match. Hurkacz defeated Sinner 6-3, 6-3.
Andrey Rublev reached the last four for the second consecutive time in Dubai. Rublev beat Mackenzie McDonald as he had lost to the American three years ago at the Australian Open. This time, Mackenzie started well with 10 winners in the first set as Rublev had 4 and the 26 won the net points on all five occasions coming forward. Mackenzie broke thrice in the first set as the world number 7 managed to break once, in the second set both players had three breakpoints as the 24 year old converted two of them and saved all three points on serve.
In the third set, there were a handful of volleys as it was all baseline power hitting. The world number 61 stood no chance as Rublev only hit 1 unforced error and lost a single point out of 13 in his first serves. Rublev will look for his first against Hurkacz in their third career meeting. Rublev defeated Mackenzie 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Nadal, Medvedev and Norrie progress to last 8 of the Mexico Open
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal extended his unbeaten run to 12 matches as he defeated Stefan Kozlov 6-0 6-3 to progress into the quarterfinals of the Mexico Open. It has been the Spaniard’s best start to a season since 2014 when he was unbeaten for 11 games before falling to Stan Wawrinka in the finals of the Australian Open.
The 35 year old will be facing Tommy Paul for a place in the semifinals of the tournament after which he could potentially face world number 2 Daniil Medvedev who he defeated in the finals at Melbourne in January. Speaking after his 76 minute match against Kozlov, Nadal said “It's always important to win as quick as possible but the most important thing is to win. Tonight has been straight sets - that's great news, and I'll try to be ready for tomorrow against a tough opponent."
Meanwhile, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev defeated Spain's Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-2 in just 64 minutes to progress into the quarterfinals. Medvedev will face Yoshihito Nishioka in the next match and will aim to win the tournament and progress to the top spot in the world rankings at the expense of Novak Djokovic by winning the title.
Britain’s Cameron Norrie was also one of the victors as he defeated America’s John Isner 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-4. Norrie will face Germany's Peter Gojowczyk in the quarterfinals. World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated American qualifier JJ Wolf 6-1 6-0 in just 47 minutes to progress into the quarterfinals where he will face America’s Marcos Giron.
One of the controversial moments from the tournament has been when world number three Alexander Zverev was thrown out of the Mexico Open due to ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ when the German attacked the umpire’s chair at the end of a doubles match. A statement released by the ATP said “Due to unsportsmanlike conduct at the conclusion of his doubles match on Tuesday night, Alexander Zverev has been withdrawn from the tournament in Acapulco”.
As a result, Zverev’s opponent Peter Gojowczyk will be given a walkover in the third round. The 24 year old German took to Instagram to apologise for his actions, calling his behaviour “unacceptable”. Zverev said he had "privately apologised" to umpire Alessandro Germani and that he was “disappointed in myself”. He wrote “As you know, I leave everything on the court. Yesterday, I left too much. I am going to take the coming days to reflect - on my actions and how I can ensure that it will not happen again."
Also read: Ostapenko sets up rematch with Krejcikova at Doha, Kvitova issues walkover
Mackenzie McDonald sends Aslan Karatsev packing in opening round at Dubai
(Tennis news) Mackenzie McDonald was playing at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the first time. He had a tough draw and was pitted against Aslan Karatsev in the opening round; the pair had met a month earlier at the Australian Open where Karatsev came out on top in four sets. The curtains came down early for the Russian as Mackenzie looked faster and stronger than his opponent, the defending champion was playing here for the second time after his strong run last year.
Karatsev was not looking sharp as usual and could not find a way to tackle the American’s serve. In the first set, Mackenzie served 8 aces and was behind in the number of winners but covered the margin in terms of unforced errors. Court coverage was also missing from the 28 year old while the world number 61 did not think twice in chasing the ball around the court. Mackenzie defeated Karatsev 7-5, 6-3.
Jannik Sinner has played 9 matches this year so far and has only lost one, he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open. Sinner has only played in hardcourt events so far in the 2022 season, this time in Dubai he had to down three match points against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the opening round. Fokina was much more agile in the first two sets than Sinner as he got to most of the balls and kept overpowering the Italian in the rallies.
The word number 10 tried to be aggressive but the Spaniard had the final answer as he took the first set. In the second set, it seemed like the Italian was slowly building his power as he had to defend three match points in the tiebreak. The first match point was saved in a defensive rally by the 20 year old as the world number 42 hit an inside out forehand long, the second one was saved by a 203 km/ ace and the third one was all due to the reliability on Sinner’s backhand which returned the ball perfectly.
The 22 year old lost his form in the deciding set as Sinner began attacking especially from his backhand. The 5 time title winner had 2 winners in the first and in the next two sets he hit 22 winners as he finished the match with an attacking forehand. Sinner defeated Fokina 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3.
“It was a very tough match,” said Sinner after completing the comeback. “I know Davidovich Fokina, but we’ve never played against each other. It was the first time for both of us and it was a tricky one, saving three match points. On the first one I got lucky because it was out, but not so far out.”
Carlos Alcaraz defeats Diego Schwartzman to reach new milestone at Rio
(Tennis news) Carlos Alcaraz won his second career title after defeating Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Rio Open. Alcaraz is now the youngest ever ATP Masters 500 winner and has now reached a career high ranking of number 20 as he climbed 9 places after the final. Schwartzman climbed a place above with a ranking of 13 with his loss in the final, the Argentine was playing in his second consecutive final after losing to Casper Ruud at Buenos Aires.
The 18 year old had a weak start by losing the first two games but set up two breakpoints in the third game and won the point with a strong backhand towards Schwartzman who failed to set up a forehand half volley. The Spaniard was hitting huge groundstrokes as the 29 year old was getting more winners of the backhand and through volleys at the net. Alcaraz made the crucial move in the 9th game with an outstretched cross court backhand passing shot which was totally misjudged by Schwartzman.
In the second set, the first three games were broken in which the youngster was leading with two breaks. The world number 29 started using more dropshots as the 2018 winner could not catch up on time, a final break in the 5th game and the champion dropped to his knees in celebration.
“I can’t believe it, honestly. It has been a great week for me playing at a great level,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “First tournament on clay in a long time, so I’m really happy with the performance during the whole week. It’s an amazing feeling right now. I think this is my game. There's a lot of variety. It’s the key to how I won the match. I know how Diego plays and this was really important for me.”
Schwartzman has played 16 matches this year out of which he has won 11 and lost his first ever meeting against Alcaraz. The former world number 8 has now lost two consecutive finals and reached the semi final at Cordoba.
Alcaraz has so far played 8 matches this year, twice has he been taken to the deciding set and it was Matteo Berrettini on both the occasions. Berrettini also defeated him at the Australian Open which is the Rio winner’s only loss so far this season. The 6 foot one inch player is now 2-0 in finals as he defeated Richard Gasquet at Umag last year.
The players will be now shifting to hardcourts as the action starts in Dubai and Acapulco from today. The two Masters 500 event has top two players fighting for the top honour as Novak Djokovic will play his first match of the season while Daniil Medvedev needs to reach the final to become the world number one.
Francisco Cerundolo continues winning run on clay at the Rio Open
(Tennis news) Two of the round of 16 matches were delayed due to rain at the Rio Open. Matteo Berrettini and Thiago Monteiro did not hit a single shot in the match as it got suspended, Carlos Alcaraz was two points away from taking the first set against Federico Delbonis who will look to take advantage of the given break.
Francisco Cerundolo made his third career quarterfinal and his second consecutive one after reaching the last eight at the Argentina Open a week ago. Cerundolo was struggling with serve against Roberto Carballes Baena in the first 4 games of the match. After securing an early break the set was his to take as Roberto failed to make an impact with his returns.
The Argentine won the first 8 points of the second set and went on to take a 3-0 lead. The Spaniard finally got his break point of the match to get his first game in the set, after a hold of serve it was the 23 year old who edged ahead in the pair’s first meeting. Pablo Andujar and Alcaraz are the only players left from Spain as they have lost 5 players in 2 days. Cerundolo defeated Roberto 6-3, 6-2.
Miomir Kecmanovic was on the winning side for the second time against Lorenzo Sonego after defeating him at the Australian Open. The pair have now met in hardcourts, clay and grass with Sonego having won in grass. The Serbian could only win 2 points in the first three games as he was down 0-3 and broke serve after 2 games for the equaliser. The 26 year old was left behind in the 10th game and could only win one point of his rival’s 8 second serves.
In the second set, Kecmanovic was improving on his first serve as it was getting the speed and accuracy needed. A break in the 3rd game enabled the 22 year old to set up a quarterfinal meeting with Cerundolo, they had met a week ago at Buenos Aires and the world number 70 lost the match. Kecmanovic defeated Sonego 7-5, 6-4.
Diego Schwartzman will be playing Pablo Andujar for a place in the semifinal, Schwartzman only dropped two games in the previous match against Pedro Martinez. The 29 year old is looking at a third consecutive semi final entry after Cordoba and Buenos Aires where he reached the final. Fabio Fognini will face in form Federico Coria as the Italian will need to cook something special in order to get a place in the last four.
Novak Djokovic’s return to 2022 season remains unclear
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic stood by his words in an exclusive interview with the BBC. Djokovic is yet to play a match on tour this year as he last played a match in December at the semifinals of the Davis Cup. This was the first time the Serbian has given his side of story after his controversial exit a day before the Australian Open.
The 20 time Grand Slam winner was the highlight last year as he reached the finals at the four Grand Slams and lost in the final at the US Open to Danill Medvedev. Djokovic is still firm on his stance about vaccination as he said it's a personal choice to take or not take the vaccine, he insisted that he is not an anti-vaxxer. If the pandemic protected his rankings last season, there are chances it will take a dark turn this year as his no 1 spot is in danger.
When asked whether he is willing to miss the French Open and Wimbledon because of his vaccination status, the 9 time Australian Open champion did not hesitate to say yes. Although both the majors will be played at the end of May and June respectively and the guidelines can change accordingly. It will be a question as to who will step up the no 1 ranking if Djokovic is absent.
The 34 year old has confirmed his stance on the topic, but the amount of time he has on tour is very limited. The next gen players are only getting better at every event and as months pass by it might be tough to get back on top. Medvedev can become the world number one if he wins at Acapulco which will start in 4 days while Djokovic will hope to play at Dubai and has to go for the title. If Medvedev wins the title or reaches the final then the position is confirmed, Djokovic will hope the Russian falls early while he can reach the semis or the finals at Dubai. The scenario can be confirmed by the end of next week as Medvedev prepares the third Russian to take top honours.
Roland Garros will be a stepping platform for Rafael Nadal to create another record at the Grand Slams. While he can aim for his 22nd title, the top three position will also be a possibility for the clay king. Nadal’s archnemesis has been Djokovic, although the absence of the 2 time Roland Garros winner won’t be a huge relief as the next gen has its way of rising to the occasion. There are still three Grand Slams to go this year as the tour will go on like usual, but Djokovic’s comeback to the season remains in doubt.
Federico Coria beats defending champion Cristian Garin at Rio
(Tennis news) Federico Coria was meeting Crisitan Garin for the third time and all of their meetings have been on clay. Coria had won their previous meeting at Bastad but Garin had defeated Coria at the Rio Open in 2020 on his way to winning the title. The defending champion looked set to trouble the Argentine again but could only win 2 games in the match as it looked even in the first set. In the second set, both players could not land most of the first serves but the Chilean could only win 2 points in his return games as the 29 year old did not lose 6 of his first serve points. Coria defeated Garin 6-2, 6-0.
Thiago Monteiro had an unimpressive start against Sebastian Baez, the Brazilian could not sustain the rallies and was down 4-0 in the first set. In the second set, the wildcard entry started to dominate the match as he was always on the move as the Argentine saved double breakpoints in the 5th and 7th game but a single break was enough to level the score. In the final set, the 27 year old raised his game as his service was the key in keeping the qualifier down and will next face top seed Matteo Berrettini for a place in the quarterfinals. Monteiro defeated Baez 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.
"Of course I'm very happy. It's always an unbelievable atmosphere playing at home, an unbelievable feeling to win those important matches," Monteiro said after the match. "Today after the first set, I took time to think of the possibilities I had to do to try and come back. Luckily I could do it today. I played at a very good level."
Lorenzo Sonego is one match away from making his 4th quarter final out of 5 events this season. The Italian was beaten in the third round of the Australian Open but has made it to the last or better in the rest of the events. He was facing Laslo Djere who won the first 9 points in his service games and the 6th seed only lost one point in his first 2 service games. After the fourth game the match was all about Sonego as he won 10 straight games to take the match. The Serbian had 6 chances to hold his serve in the second game of the 2nd set after which he won three points in the 4 games to end the match in an hour and 9 minutes. Sonego defeated Djere 6-2, 6-0.
Lehecka makes his debut into the top 100 of ATP rankings
(Tennis news) Jiri Lehecka has moved up 42 places in the ATP rankings for a career best of number 95. Lehecka had made his main draw debut at the 2022 Australian Open where he lost to Grigor Dimitrov in four sets. In the recently concluded ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament at Rotterdam, the 20 year old had to battle a tough fight in the second qualifier match against Corentin Moutet who was ranked 30 places above him.
In just his second match on the ATP tour, Lehecka was facing Denis Shapovalov who is ranked 12 in the world. The victory could not have come at a better time for the tour debutant as entered the next round with a loss of eight games. The youngster went on to defeat Botic van de Zandschulp, Lorenzo Musetti and lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinal in three sets.
As of now there is only player from Czech Republic who is in the top 100 of the rankings, the next highest ranked player after Lehecka is Tomas Machac at 115th place. The Czech number 1 has been the biggest mover of the week as Jenson Brooksby is the next as he moved 9 places to number 45.
The world number 95 is 6 feet one inch and does not have a rocket serve, at Rotterdam his fastest serve was clocked at 214 km/ hour in the semifinal and had an average of 201 km/ hour. Lehecka hit 20 aces in four matches with 7 of them coming in the final one, almost 55 percent of his first serve went in and in three matches won 70 percent of them. The right hander has an attacking game and comes to the net frequently to win points with mostly strong volleys rather than drop volleys.
Lehecka also showed moments of courage in the past week as he didn’t shy away from creating chances. The clean ball striking from the baseline allows him to come at the net as the opponent is chasing the ball or backing away from the baseline to defend it which leaves him time to prepare for the volley. The backhand is also stiff during defensive points which gives the return more speed and just above net height which reduces the opponent’s chances to continue the attack.
Players like Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek were the last stars from the country in the men’s tour. Although Berdych was one of the top players on the ATP tour a few years ago, Stepanek had found more success in the doubles competition. There are a few players on the rising players list as Lehecka is now leading among the next gen from his country.
Pegula hands opening round defeat to Gauff at Dubai
(Tennis news) After two opening round exits in the 2022 season, Jessica Pegula had reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. After a few days of break she defeated Coco Gauff in their first ever meeting at the WTA 500 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Gauff served 5 double faults in both sets as it gave free points to Pegula who held on the service break, the 17 year old also committed 52 unforced errors which pulled her back even more.
The world number 14 only hit 9 winners in the match but had a minor scare when her three match points were dusted by the teenager with her super strong groundstrokes. When the world number 20 finally hit a slice which went long even though her counter attack was working perfectly as the 27 year old entered the fourth round. Pegula defeated Gauff 6-4, 6-4 and is one win away from 300 career wins.
Petra Kvitova secured her first victory over Camila Giorgi in 8 years, Kvitova’s victory at the 2014 Fed Cup was their first meeting and the left hander’s last win over Giorgi. The next two meetings were won by Italian including last year’s fourth round clash at Montreal. The former world number 2 only needed an hour and 8 minutes to beat her old rival, Kvitova saved all 4 breakpoints she faced in the match to keep her perfect service record. In the second set, there was no leniency by the 31 year old as she bageled the world number 29 who could only win a single point of her 2nd serve in the set . Kvitova defeated Giorgi 6-2, 6-0.
Simona Halep has already won 1 title in this season and reached the fourth round in Australia. The former world number 1 had won the event in 2015, 2020 and made her debut 10 years ago in the main draw. Alison Riske suffered her fourth loss in as many matches against the Romanian as she couldn’t break serve as she had 2 chances in the second set. Riske was hitting her strokes in the middle of the court and could only find winners from the net. Halep defeated Riske 6-2, 6-4.
Iga Swiatek notched up her 9th win of the season and is looking to enter the semifinal for the third consecutive time this season. Swiatek was against familiar foe Daria Kasatkina who she had met a few weeks back in Australia. The 6th seed lost 3 points in each set off her first serve and lost 5 points each on her second serve. Kasatkina was broken 5 times in the match, 2 of them were in the second set where the Russian denied four other chances. Swiatek defeated Kasatkina 6-1, 6-2.
Berrettini looking for first title of the season at Rio
(Tennis news) The second ATP Masters 500 event of the season has started with top seeds playing for their first titles of the season. While Matteo Berrettini is the top seed and is back after a semifinal exit at the Australian Open to Rafael Nadal. Carlos Alcaraz has only played three matches this year and will look to rise in the clay courts, something he did last year. Casper Ruud and Diego Schwartzman are in the draw after playing a three set final at Argentina. Here are the top four players to watch out for at Rio Open.
Berrettini did not find his form at the ATP Cup but defeated Gael Monfils and Alcaraz at Australia. The Italian is playing his third event of the season and has plenty of time to reorganize himself for some action on clay in Brazil. The 25 year old will be playing at the event for the first time and has a potential semifinal meet up against Alcaraz. He reached the finals at ATP Masters 1000 Madrid last year and is now chasing a first Masters 500 clay title.
Ruud is coming into Rio after a title win at the Argentina Open, the Norwegian can bring out his best form on the clay. The world number 8 is playing here for the 5th time and reached the semifinals 5 years later losing to Pablo Carreno Busta. He will meet Benoit Paire or Francisco Cerundolo in the opening match.
The teenager was shining on clay 12 months earlier and continued his run on the hardcourts till the end of 2021. The world number 29 won his first title at Umag which was also his first final, this is the second time for the rising star at Rio as previously he lost in the 4th round in 2020. After a 2 week lay off from the tour the world number 29 can pounce on the seniors when he gets back on court.
Sonego has so far reached three quarter finals from events this season, his groundstrokes did leave an impact at Buenos Aires especially his forehand which generates a lot of power. The Italian is looking for his third title and second clay title. He is playing for the third time and reached the quarterfinals in 2020. The 26 year old will face Serbian Laslo Djere in the opening match, the pair has met thrice with Djere winning once in hardcourt and Sonego leading in their other two meetings at clay.
Also read: Prajnesh ousted from Bengaluru Open-2 after defeat against top seed Vukic
Felix beats Tsitsipas to win first tour title at Rotterdam
(Tennis news) Felix Auger-Aliassime finally won his maiden tour title at Rotterdam as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. The 1st time tour winner did not lose a single point on the first serve in the opening set and had 4 aces which gave him the best start to the final. In the second set, the world number 4 could only win 2 points on his second serve while losing 7 of them.
After taking a 5-1 lead in the second set, it was clear that there was no looking back for Felix as he was only a game away from winning the championship, both the sets did not take more than 40 minutes. 67 points had a rally length of 0-4 shots and there were only 8 points in which there were more than 9 shots.
Felix was playing in his 9th final, after taking 8 runner trophies the Canadian is now a Masters 500 winner. The pair was meeting for the 8th time with Tsitsipas winning the last five matches and the world number 9 recorded his first victory over his rival in three years. The Greek player leads their head to head meeting with 5 wins while the 21 year old has three straight set victories. It was their second meeting in a final after Marseille in 2020 which Tsitsipas won. The 23 year old was looking for his 8th title but suffered his 11th loss in a final. He is now only 2 wins away from 200 career wins and 2 more losses would mean 100 career losses.
“It has not been the smoothest road since my first final three years ago,” Auger-Aliassime said during the trophy ceremony. “It is an amazing day for me to get my first title and especially here. I played my first ATP main draw here a couple of years ago, so it is right that I won my first title here.”
Only Daniil Medvedev and Taylor Fritz have beaten Felix this season and the Russian has been able to do it twice. There will be no changes in the rankings as of now, Felix is only a few points behind 8th placed Casper Ruud. Tsitsipas needed a win in the final to reach closer to Alexander Zverev who is 500 points ahead. After winning the ATP Cup, reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and now the title win puts Felix on top this season with 12 victories in 15 matches.
Show me the money: Iyer, Shardul, Chahar and Kishan set to hit pay dirt like never before at IPL auction
Bengaluru, Feb 11 (Cricket News) Dashing batter Shreyas Iyer and the multi-skilled Shardul Thakur are expected to laugh their way to the bank as two of the costliest buys in the history of Indian Premier League when the last mega-auction commences here on Saturday.
The 10 teams in the league, following the addition of Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Supergiants, will be bidding heavily for the Indian players in a list of 590 cricketers, including 227 overseas candidates up for grabs during the two-day event.
This year's auction might witness the maximum number of Indian million dollar buys (Rs 7.5 crore and above) with more than 10 cricketers set to cross Rs 10 crore bid range and some expected to hit close to Rs 20 crore.
While Iyer could be the highest ever auction buy (in the 20 crore range), the likes of Shardul and Kishan (keeper-batter), with their bouquet of skills, can also fetch anything in the range of Rs 12-15 crore or even upwards if some franchises get into intense bidding wars.
Then there are Deepak Chahar and Yuzvendra Chahal, who can also get anything in the range of USD 2 million (Rs 15 crore) as both of them are proven international performers.
With megastars like Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings), Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bengaluru) and Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians) retained by their respective franchises, teams would look from flamboyant middle-order batters to good wrist spinners not to forget the all-rounders, who are always in demand.
While KL Rahul, at Rs 17 crore, is the player with highest retention price, former Delhi Capitals skipper Iyer might force some of the franchises like Punjab Kings (Rs 72 crore purse), Sunrisers Hyderabad (Rs 68 crore) and Rajasthan Royals (Rs 62 crore) to break the bank.
These are franchises that need solid middle-order game-changers and also a member of the leadership group in case a Mayank Agarwal or Kane Williamson don't work out.
For Dhoni's CSK, it would be about going mostly go for tried and tested performers, who are known to win matches and championships while teams like Punjab and Rajasthan, as has been their habit, would bid insane amounts for left-field selections.
Even Kolkata Knight Riders where former Mumbai Ranji stalwart Abhishek Nayar, by virtue of being the eyes and ears of CEO Venky Mysore, has the maximum say might go all-out for Iyer as they require a captaincy candidate.
However, with a dodgy retention like Varun Chakravarthy, who is never fully fit and hardly plays anything save IPL, has put the team in a spot with only Rs 48 crore in purse and an entire team to build.
Since this is a mega auction and teams need to have a minimum of 18 players on their roster (everyone will go in range of 22 to 25 players), the Indian players -- both capped and uncapped -- will be highly valued.
That's the reason why last year's Purple Cap winner Harshal Patel has kept a base price of Rs 2 crore as he can get up to five times more than that while second highest wicket-taker Avesh Khan has kept it as low as Rs 20 lakh, hoping it can go up by 50 times (Rs 10 crore).
Even not so great T20 performers like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane, at their premium base price, are expected to find takers while someone like an Ambati Rayudu might go in for a good Rs 7 to 8 crore.
Bhuvneshwar Kuma, who is well past his prime, and Kuldeep Yadav, who is coming back, are also expected to get decent, if not handsome, deals.
Watch out for Deepak Hooda, who has upped his game since Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and is now also a capped India player, with a very decent first two ODI games against the Windies.
Warner, de Kock, Rabada, Holder star attractions ============================== David Warner is back in form and expect at least three franchises to empty their coffers for the Australian opener who will grab anything between USD 1.5 to 2 million.
Apart from opening the batting, Warner is among the rare overseas captaincy candidates, having guided Sunrisers to the trophy back in 2016 before an ugly fallout last year.
It is expected that Lucknow Supergiants will bid handsomely for Warner while one candidate who can be the highest overseas buy is West Indies' Jason Holder.
PTI had already reported that RCB is ready to bid up to Rs 12 crore and it can even move up considering he can hit big sixes and is more than a handy medium pacer who has a lot of variations up his sleeve.
His Windies teammates like veteran Dwayne Bravo, along with young bowlers like Odean Smith and Romario Shepherd, are also going to get good deals.
If anyone can match or even beat Holder and Warner for a bigger price tag, it is South African keeper-batter Quinton de kock, who will get multiple bids from franchises.
Delhi Capitals let him go at the expense of Anrich Nortje, who is currently nursing an injury but the GMR-JSW co-owned franchise might want to get Rabada back at any cost but they only have Rs 47.5 crore to buy players. Rabada is also on the wish-list of other franchises including Lucknow.
Watch out for Shahrukh, Nitish, Rahul, Devdutt ============================= Even if M Shahrukh Khan doesn't make his debut on Friday against the West Indies, he will remain one of the most sought after players among the Gen-Next with an auction value of anything between Rs 5 to 8 crore because of a low base price which will inevitably start a bidding war.
Nitish Rana, the left-hander, and Rahul Tripathi, the right-hander, have been proven performers and they will go for much higher bids than the likes of established international stars such as Steven Smith, Jonny Bairstow or for that matter, Eoin Morgan.
Both Nitish and Rahul could go for around Rs 10 crore while someone like Devdutt Padikkal will also be in high demand.
Among the U-19 stars, the only one who can fetch a decent bid from the victorious team is Raj Angad Bawa as he is an all-rounder.
While Yash Dhull can get a bid but the franchises are now smart and know how U-19s can often not be upto the challenge given their past experience with the likes of Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Manjot Kalra and Shivam Mavi.
Among little known domestic players, Yash Thakore, Abhinav Manohar, Mayank Yadav, Ritwick Roy Chowdhury, Abhishek Sharma, and Mujataba Yousuf could all get bids.
Also Read : India win toss, elect to bat against WI in 3rd ODI
News Source : PTI
Federico Coria sets up late recovery against Lajovic at Buenos Aires
(Tennis news) Federico Coria had a tough fight in his match against Dusan Lajovic in the second round of the Argentina Open. Lajovic had a great first half as he won the first three games of the match, he set up a 5-1 lead in the first set and derailed Coria’s comeback at the end of the set. The Serbian was 5-3 in the second set as he was two points away from advancing to the next round when the 29 year old applied the brakes on his rampage and set his own course by winning the next 4 games.
The world number 37 could never recover from the second set attack as he lost consecutive points from the 2nd game till the 4th one. The Argentine may have had his roots helping him hold a grasp over the match as he secured a three set victory in 2 and half hours. Coria defeated Lajovic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Casper Ruud played a match after a month as he had to withdraw from the Australian Open due to an ankle injury. Ruud did need some time to get used to the court against Roberto Carballes Baena, the world number 8 found his flair in the tiebreak as he won by a comfortable margin. In the second set, the Norwegian needed just one breakpoint to take a 2-0 lead but Baena recovered by breaking serve to make it 3-3. In the next game, the Spaniard’s could not win a single point on his serve as he was down a break and a double fault on matchpoint gave Ruud the victory. Ruud defeated Baena 7-6(7-2), 6-3.
“I know Federico well,” Ruud said, previewing their Friday quarter-final—a rematch of the 2021 Swedish Open final, won by the Norwegian. “Last year we played in Bastad, so it was my home court, and now we’re playing here in Buenos Aires, so it’s his home. It will be tough for me, and I hope I can play a good match and of course feel the good energy from the stadium.”
Fernando Verdasco made it into the quarterfinals for the first time at the event in his fourth attempt. Verdasco was down 1-4 in the first set and in the next game Thiago Monteiro needed 7 deuces to make it 5-1 as the Spaniard made a late fightback. The inspiration continued in the next set as the 38 year old was now in the lead with the exact score as the first set 4-1 and Monteiro could only two more games of his serve. In the final set, the Brazilian couldn’t hold on to an early break as the veteran had the final call even though he was 3 points away from losing the match in the 9th game. Verdasco defeated Monteiro 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Lorenzo Sonego will also be a first time quarterfinalist when he faces Verdasco next, the Italian needed 2 hours to get past the fourth round. Sonego had faced Sebastian Baez at Sydney International a month ago and the results were similar. The 3rd seed was clearly too powerful for Baez as the Argentine had his supporters but it was not enough to overthrow his opponent’s form. The 21 year old had a lot of chances in the second to break serve but could not convert any as the world number 22 had just 2 chances and converted one to progress to his third quarterfinal of the 2022 season. Sonego defeated Baez 6-3, 6-3.
Shapovalov and Karatsev suffer shock exit at Rotterdam
(Tennis news) It was a dream ATP tour debut for Jiri Lehecka who turned professional two years ago. The 20 year old looked eager to set the tone against Denis Shapovalov in the 1st round at Rotterdam, Lehecka broke the Canadians serve in the third game and went on to save three breakpoints in the 6th game. Shapovalov was serving better and even had more winners but could not dismantle the qualifier’s serve, he had 11 breakpoints in the match but could only win one.
In the second set, the world number 12 served two double faults to lose the opening game but broke back for the first time in the match. The left hander could not get his groundstrokes under control during the breakpoints even though he had a much better serve. In the 5th game when the 22 year old had to defend two breakpoints instead of a defensive approach, an aggressive forehand went too long as the rally was cut short and gave another break to the world number 137. Lehecka defeated Shapovalov 6-4, 6-4.
Aslan Karatsev had countless chances to finish the match against Tallon Griekspoor but it was not meant to be. The Russian had 4-2 lead in all the three sets but could only close out the deal in the opening set after which the wildcard entry recorded his third top 15 victory at Rotterdam. Griekspoor had defeated Stan Wawrinka in 2018, in the next year he defeated Karen Khachanov and this year it was another Russian in the target this time. The 25 year old saved two match points in the 9th game of the third set as he also won 7 straight points in the tie break. Karatsev ended the match with a broken racquet in his first time at Rotterdam. Griekspoor defeated Karatsev 2-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6(7-0).
Defending champion Andrey Rublev found competition among the heavy hitting groundstrokes as Henri Laaksonen hit as many winners as the Russian. Rublev only hit 9 unforced errors and won 11 of the 13 netpoints to complete a win in an hour. The 24 year old was playing in his second event of the season after a third round exit at the Australian Open, he even hit a backhand volley which spun back into his side of the court which was the highlight of the match. Rublev defeated Laaksonen 6-4, 6-4.
Stefanos Tsitsipas served 15 aces including 7 in the second set against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Both players were engaging in high intensity rallies as there were also consistent net plays in the first two sets. Fokina has now lost three opening matches out of 4 events in the 2022 season so far, the 22 year old had a chance to take the first set when he was serving at 5-4 but could only win two points in the game. The world number 46 again made a comeback in the second from 2-4, he only conceded a single point while winning the tiebreak. In the 7th game of the final set, Fokina saved a breakpoint then was a point away from holding serve but a backhand into the net gave Tsitsipas the lead. Tsitsipas defeated Fokina 7-5, 6-7(1-7), 6-4.
Sakkari seeking chances to enter top 5 at St. Petersburg Open
(Tennis news) The third WTA 500 event is set to start today as the players come back after the opening Grand Slam of the year. Maria Sakkari, Anett Kontaveit and Elena Rybakina are the top three seeds at the event as 2018 Champion Petra Kvitova will be playing as a wildcard. Here are the top four players to watch out for at the St. Petersburg Open.
The world number 7 has so far played in two events since the start of the season. At Adelaide International 1 she lost to Shelby Rogers in the fourth round and in the Australian Open she lost to Shelby Rogers in the fourth round. Sakkari has a shot to enter the top 5 with a title and beat her previous best of rank 6. The Greek player has won one title in her career which came three years ago and needs to make an impact in Russia. She lost to Julia Georges in the opening round in 18,19 and in 2020 she reached the semifinals.
Kontaveit had the right start to the year by reaching the semifinals at Sydney but lost in the second round at Australia. The Estonian player needs to bring her season ending form of last year to the start of this season. She will be participating at the event for the first time and will face Jil Teichmann in the opening match.
One of the tallest players on the WTA tour, Rybakina stands 6 foot tall and is currently on her career high number 12 in the rankings. The 22 year old already has played 9 matches from three tournaments this season and reached the finals at Adelaide International 1, she defeated Shelby Rogers in the quarterfinal and lost to Ashleigh Barty in the final. The Russian born player beat Emma Raducanu with the loss of just one game at Sydney and had to retire mid match at Australia against Shuai Zhang due to a left thigh injury. Rybakina was the runner here two years ago and beat Maria Sakkari in the semifinal.
Mertens will be playing in the main draw for the second time at St. Petersburg Open and is playing the event after a 5 year gap. The 26 year old reached the fourth round at Sydney and in Australia lost to eventual runner up Danielle Collins. The Belgian was ranked 12 four years ago, at present she has slipped down to 26th. Her 6th title came last year by beating Caroline Garcia, Elina Svitolina and Kaia Kanepi in the final.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas ends Alejandro Tabilo’s dream run to win the title
(Tennis news) Albert Ramos-Vinolas won his fourth ATP tour title with a win over Alejandro Tabilo at the Cordoba Open. The Spaniard defeated the qualifier 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final that lasted for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Tabilo only had 3 wins on the tour before this year and racked up four wins at Cordoba, he beat Diego Schwartzman in the semifinal for his biggest career victory so far and did not drop a set from the qualifiers to the final. He was looking to be the second from his country to win the title after Cristian Garin’s victory two years ago.
Albert was playing at Cordoba for the fourth time and in the previous three always lost against an Argentine. Last year he played 5 of his matches against Argentines and lost in the final against Juan Manuel Cerundolo who was ranked 335 at that time. Before that he had reached the quarterfinals and the fourth round in 2019.
The 32 year old had lost in the first round of the Australian Open this year but did not drop a set on his way to the final at the clay event. He was down a set and 2-0 in the second but fought his way through to win the next 6 games out of 7. In the third set, it was again the Chilean who took a 4-1 lead but it was not yet over as Albert broke serve thrice and unleashed forehands that were meant to crush his opponent’s hopes. Tabilo hit a backhand long as Alber fell to the ground with 5 consecutive games for an inspiring victory.
"I don't know how I came back to be honest. I think I played a little bit more aggressively from 1-4 in the third. He missed some first serves. He was serving well and I started to return a little bit more aggressively than before," Ramos-Vinolas said. "When I came back from 1-4 to 3-4, I was feeling I had a chance."
The 24 year old has now climbed up 32 places in the rankings after his performance for a career best 112 and is on his way to the top 100. The veteran also jumped 12 places to be ranked 32 as all four of his career titles have come on clay. Both players will next play at Buenos Aires where Tabilo will face another Spaniard Pedro Martinez in the opening round as for Albert he will be up against Brazilian lefty Thiago Monteiro.
Bopanna-Ramkumar pair lift Tata Open trophy
Pune, Feb 6 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan won their second ATP World Tour title together after pipping the top seeded Australian pair of Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith in the final of the Tata Open Maharashtra, here on Sunday.
The second-seeded Indians erased the first set deficit to win 6-7(10) 6-3 10-6 in one hour and 44 minutes.
Bopanna and Ramkumar had combined as a team on the ATP Tour for the first time at the Adelaide event last month in the run-up to the Australian Open and won the trophy.
For Bopanna, it was his 21st ATP doubles title while for Ramkumar it is his second trophy at this level and it will push him inside doubles top-100 for the first time in his career.
They split USD 16370 as prize money and earned 250 ranking points each.
Bopanna had won this event with compatriot Divij Sharan in 2019.
Still going strong at an age of 41, Bopanna said it's his years of playing experience that is helping him out in the circuit.
"A lot is to do with experience, which you really bring in, years and years of experience and the biggest thing is my body is feeling very very good at the moment," Bopanna said after the match.
"I did a lot of yoga which has helped me tremendously and I am very thankful to my Yoga Teacher (Mohan) in Bangalore which has made such a difference for me and I can try something new at this age.
"It has made a difference and that really shows as long as I am playing matches, competing and doing something that is physically appealing. May be at the practice court I may not be giving my 100% but as long as I am feeling good and go out their and enjoying the pace as currently right now." Asked to compare the two titles that they have won together, Bopanna said performing before the home crowd was tough while in Adelaide no one watched them.
"Both are extremely special but anytime you win a title at home it's lot more pressures. In Adelaide no one was really watching, but here there were lot more expectations and especially coming here with a win people expected an automatic win which wasn’t easy but at that tie break the crowd really helped.
"You just get that extra boost, that extra energy. Even if your legs are feeling tiered that’s the energy you need to hit the serve especially for me. Winning in India is always especial and especially with an Indian partner is truly truly great." Ramkumar said he now wants to play ATP 500 event in Dubai and for that wil try to do well in the the upcoming two Challengers in Bengaluru.
"Let's see if there is a chance to get in Dubai and hope I can play that," said the 27-year-old.
Ramkumar said everyone believed in his game and that gave him confidence in this tournament.
"Coming from Bops (Bopanna) who always believes in me, my coaches and every one who have always believe in me and said you play well and that just keeps me going.
"I just have to work on a few thing on court and just keep competing at this level as much as I can which will improve my game and automatically the ranking," he said.
Big serves marked the beginning of the contest with only Ramkumar and Luke losing a point each in the first four games.
Bopanna's volley error on a return from Luke made it 30-all in the fifth game but Ramkumar pulled off an ace and followed that up with another huge serve to hold for a 3-2 lead.
The Indian team had got a chance to break Patrick-Smith's serve in the next game when Luke made an error while attempting an overhead volley at 40-30 but the opportunity could not be utilised as the Australian pulled of a big serve on the deuce point.
The Australians also created break opportunity on Ramkumar's serve in the ninth game when they found two service return winners and the Indian serving a doubler fault at 40-30 but the home team managed to hold.
A comfortable hold at love by Patrick-Smith made it 5-5.
Eventually a tie-break was required for deciding the first set. Both the teams had a number of set points as the Indians squandered two chances and the Australians three before converting their fourth.
They got the chance when Bopanna made an unforced error at 10-all and Ramkumar netted a forehand on set point.
In the second set, the Indian duo needed a good start and they got it by breaking Luke's serve in the third game when the Australian made a volley error on deuce point.
Bopanna saved a break chance on his serve in the next game to keep their nose ahead. Patrick-Smith was serving to stay in the set in the ninth game and was broken to allow the Indian team force a Super Tie Breaker.
At 30-all, an engrossing rally ensued between the two pairs. Luke blinked to give Indian first set point which they converted when Bopanna dispatched a volley winner with ease.
Bopanna and Ramkumar dominated the STB to secure the title.
Also Read : Rublev and Tsitsipas getting ready for rematch at Rotterdam
News Source : PTI
India U19 take on England U19 as they aim for their 5th U19 World Cup
(Cricket news) When it comes to U19 cricket, India is a force to reckon with as year after year they tend to produce world class talents like the likes of Mohammed Kaif, Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill and now the Yash Dhull seems to carry on the same tradition. India are the most successful team in the history of the Under-19 World Cup with four trophies in 14 editions, with eight final appearances. In Antigua today, they are not just in with a shot to bag their fifth title and remain unbeaten in the 2022 edition, but also extend a legacy that will be etched in history books when they face England in the Final.
The Indian youngsters created history as they became the only team to ever qualify to four consecutive finals. They came close to winning the trophy last year, but were beaten by the surprise package Bangladesh. However, they have the chance to rectify last year's disappointment against an unbeaten England side who had a straightforward passage through the group stage. They had a bit of a scare in the semifinal but held their nerve to go past Afghanistan by just 15 runs to give them the best shot at the U19 World Cup trophy and also break their drought that has spanned 24 years. India and England have met seven times before in the tournament with India leading the head-to-head at 5-2, but this will be the first time they are facing each other in a summit clash.
Since Dhull returned from his COVID-enforced break, he has been in sublime form, scoring a hundred in the semifinal against the mighty Australians. Rasheed,on the other hand, has shown why he comes with a big reputation. Against Australian openers Angkrish Raghuvanshi and Harnoor Singh were cautious in the semifinal as India got off to a slow start but the pair steered India to 290. While the batters have stood up at various stages individually, the bowlers have been the unsung hero as Rajvardhan Hangargekar's extra pace and swing has troubled the top order batters, while Vicky Ostwal has impressed with his exceptional skills, as he tends to exert control in the middle overs. He is subsequently India's leading wicket-taker with 12 wickets at 10.75.
England captain Tom Prest has had the same effect as he too is leading his side from the front with 292 runs, averaging 73, while Joshua Boyden, the left-arm pacer, has picked up 13 wickets, averaging a brilliant 9.53rpo. Rehan Ahmed the wrist spinner has bamboozled every one with his mystery spin and has provided crucial breakthroughs in the middle period. Jacob Bethell is the most explosive batter in that England batting order and bowls a tidy slow left-arm. England last reached the final way back in 1998, where they went on to win the title. They will look for history to repeat itself, while their opponents are out seeking to make history once again.
Rublev and Tsitsipas getting ready for rematch at Rotterdam
(Tennis news) ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam will begin from February 7th as the qualifiers will start from today. The first ATP Masters 500 event of the season will see the top players battle in the Netherlands, the main draw list has been published and the four qualifiers will be decided in two days. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev will be playing their first event after the Australian Open as the Greek good will be ready to avenge last year’s semi final loss against the Russian. Here are the top players to watch out for in Rotterdam.
Tsitsipas was well in form at Australia reaching the semifinals until Daniil Medvedev ended his run. Medvedev will not be seen in action for a week and Alexander Zverev is currently at Montpellier which makes the world number 3 the top seed of the event. Tsitsipas had reached the semifinals last year by beating Karen Khachanov and Hubert Hurkacz on the way. The 23 is six wins short of 200 career victories and can face Alex De Minuar in the quarterfinals.
The Russian started his season at Australia with a below par performance against Marin Cilic in the third round. The world number 7 dropped a place after the performance and needs to defend his title to protect his rankings. Rublev has won 142 matches in hardcourts against 85 losses and 6 of his titles have come on this surface. The 24 year old will be playing for the fourth time and has at least reached the quarterfinals in his last three appearances. He will start against a qualifier and has the possibility of facing Aslan Karatsev in the quarterfinals.
Felix already has 7 wins in his pocket within a month of the 2022 season. The Canadian showed unreal guts while winning the ATP Cup and was a point away from making it to the semifinal at Australia. He lost in the first round at Rotterdam last year but was the runner up to Gael Monfils two years ago.
The world number 12 started the season with a loss against Daniel Evans then had a 7 match winning streak which was snapped by Rafael Nadal at Australia. Shapovalov will be playing at Rotterdam for the third time, in 2020 he came back without a win and in 2019 reached the quarterfinals. He and Feilix have the most wins in this season amongst those playing at Rotterdam.
Roger Federer to decide on tour return during April - May
(Tennis news) There are still doubts about Roger Federer returning on tour with many seeing this as a sign of possible retirement. The 20 time Grand Slam winner last played 8 months ago at Wimbledon, he lost in the quarterfinals to Hubert Hurkacz and was even bageled in the third set. Federer will turn 41 this year in August and will complete 24 years on tour if he is able to make a comeback this season.
Federer has been struggling with knee injuries and has only played 19 matches over the past two years. The Swiss legend has had multiple surgeries which still has not brought him to full shape, he was expected to make a comeback in the second half of the season and now has said that it will be decided in April or May about the time of his comeback.
"I want to come back strong and give it everything that I have, the drive is there, I'm really motivated to do my work when I'm allowed to do.. it's still good times even though it's a little bit slow,” said Roger.
The former world number one also might return at the Laver Cup to pair with Rafael Nadal. The pair had been in the same team twice and also played doubles five years back for team Europe. The event will be held from September 23-25 at London, it will be the fifth edition of the event as team Europe has won all the titles so far.
There are records that he can break if makes a comeback as winning a Grand Slam title looks a little beyond achievable but maybe Rafael Nadal’s 21st trophy might inspire him to try harder but Federer making a comeback is more important than seeing him in a major final and can make up for the chances which were missed earlier as he has a proven track record of returning the favour.
While the next gen are moving onto winning majors, climbing up in the rankings but at the same time the big three is trying hard to maintain their winning streak. When Nadal alongside Federer were not at the US Open, Djokovic came close to winning the title and this year when Djokovic was not there; it was Nadal who took the trophy. The winning streak of the big three has not been broken completely but has weakened as the injuries have taken over trophies.
Murray and Tsonga accept wildcards for Rotterdam, Medvedev opts out
(Tennis news) The first Masters 500 event of the season has announced former champions Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga accepting the wildcards at Rotterdam. ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament will start from February 7th as players get ready for either dropping or gaining valuable points. There are two more Masters 500 events this month as many players will play 2 of them because of the lack of time gap between the events.
Tsonga was last seen playing 24 hours ago when he was defeated early at Montpellier. The Frenchman had won the title at Rotterdam 5 years ago while not dropping a set until the final against David Goffin. The 36 year old was the runner up to Robin Soderling in 2011 and is making a comeback at the event after a 2 year gap. Tsonga last reached a final three years ago when he won the title at Metz and ended the year ranked 35; currently he is ranked 259 and a return to the 100 feels like a distant dream.
Andy Murray had made his debut at the event 14 years back and the title win in 2009 was his 10th career title win. Murray had lost to eventual champion Andrey Rublev last year in the 4th round after a five year absence. The former world number one made his first final in over three years this year at Sydney and has already played two 3+ plus hour matches in which the second one was 8 minutes short of the 4 hour mark. His fitness has improved from last year so he is expected to play a lot more matches.
Daniil Medvedev will not be seen on court for a few days as he announced that he would not be playing at Rotterdam. The Russian had been brutally honest after the 2022 Australian Open final, it is not clear when he will be back but might act differently with the crowd this time. The world number 2 had reached the quarterfinals in his debut here in 2018 then made the semifinals next year but over the past two years he has lost in the opening match.
“Unfortunately I will not play in Rotterdam this year,” Medvedev said. “I just got back from Australia and am not ready to compete. Rotterdam is one of the favourite stops on the Tour and Richard does a great job for the players there. I look forward to coming back in the future.”
Bopanna-Ramkumar duo enters doubles semis, Yuki crashes out from Tata Open
Pune, Feb 3 (Tennis News) Indian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan advanced to the doubles semi-finals, but it was curtains for Yuki Bhambri in singles second round at the 2022 Tata Open Maharashtra at the Balewadi Stadium here on Thursday.
Bopanna and Ramkumar defeated Austrian-Czech duo of Alexander Erler and Czech Jiri Vesely 7-6(7-3) 7-6(7-4) in the quarterfinals.
Bopanna and Ramkumar, playing their second ATP event together at the fourth edition of South Asia's only ATP 250 tournament, will now meet Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul. The French duo entered last four round with a hard-fought win against Federico Gaio and Lorenzo Musetti 4-6 6-3 10-2.
Another Indian pair of N Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan will also be seen in the semifinals after their opponents, Gianluca Mager and Emil Ruusuvuori withdrew from the last-eight match due to an injury to the former.
The Indian duo, which entered the main draw as an alternate pair, defeated compatriots Arjun Kadhe and Purav Raja 6-1 6-4 in the opening round played late on Wednesday night.
However, it was curtains for comeback man Yuki as he suffered a 3-6 2-6 defeat against eight seed Stefano Travaglia of Australia in the singles second round.
Earlier in the day, Sweden's Elias Ymer stunned top-seed and world no 15 Aslan Karatsev of Russia in straight sets to storm into the singles quarterfinals.
Ymer handed Karatsev a shocking 6-2 7-6(7-3) defeat in a second round match that lasted for one hour and 36 minutes.
The 25-year-old Ymer, who came through the qualifiers, started the game well and took an early 3-1 lead against Karatsev, who struggled to find his rhythm at the South Asia's only ATP 250 event.
With 76 per cent of service points won, compared to Karatsev's 47 per cent, Ymer comfortably bagged the opening set.
The star Russian, who upstaged world no.1 Novak Djokovic on his home court to enter the Serbia Open final last year, tried to forge a comeback but Ymer showed phenomenal reflexes, coupled with some powerful shots to level the scores at 4-4 in the second set.
Ymer then held his serves and forced Karatsev, the first player in an Open Era to reach the Grand Slam semifinal on debut at 2021 Australian Open, to a tie-break.
"I was more focussed on my serves. When you serve well, you always win matches. I think the serve was the key," Ymer said after his match.
World no. 163 Ymer started strongly in the tie-breaker by racing to a 3-0 lead and then maintained his fine touch to complete a sensational victory.
Meanwhile, defending champion Jiri Vesely, who received opening-round bye, started his campaign with a confident 6-3 6-4 win against Bernabe Zapata Miralles.
Sixth-seeded Emil Ruusuvuori also had an easy outing against qualifier Vit Kopriva, securing a 6-3 6-3 victory during a lopsided last-16 contest.
Also Read : Sweden's Ymer stuns top seed Karatsev at Tata Open, sails into quarters
News Source : PTI
Sweden's Ymer stuns top seed Karatsev at Tata Open, sails into quarters
Pune, Feb 3 (Tennis News) Sweden's Elias Ymer stunned top seed and world no.15 Aslan Karatsev of Russia in straight sets to enter the singles quarterfinals of the 2022 Tata Open Maharashtra at the Balewadi Stadium here on Thursday.
Ymer registered a shocking 6-2 7-6(7-3) win over Karatsev in the a second round match that lasted for one hour and 36 minutes.
The 25-year-old Ymer, who came through the qualifiers, started the game well and took an early 3-1 lead against Karatsev, who struggled to find his rhythm at the South Asia's only ATP 250 event.
With 76 per cent of service points won, compared to Karatsev's 47 per cent, Ymer comfortably bagged the opening set.
The star Russian, who upstaged world no.1 Novak Djokovic on his home court to enter the Serbia Open final last year, tried to forge a comeback but Ymer showed phenomenal reflexes, coupled with some powerful shots to level the scores at 4-4 in the second set.
Ymer then held his serves and forced Karatsev, the first player in an Open Era to reach the Grand Slam semifinal on debut at 2021 Australian Open, to a tie-break.
"I was more focussed on my serves. When you serve well, you always win matches. I think the serve was the key," Ymer said after his match.
World no.163 Ymer started strongly in the tie-breaker by racing to a 3-0 lead and then maintained his fine touch to complete a sensational victory.
Meanwhile, defending champion Jiri Vesely, who received opening-round bye, started his campaign with a confident 6-3 6-4 win against Bernabe Zapata Miralles.
Sixth-seeded Emil Ruusuvuori also had an easy outing against qualifier Vit Kopriva, securing a 6-3, 6-3 victory during a lopsided last-16 contest.
Later in the evening, star Indian singles player Yuki Bhambri will look to secure a quarter-final berth as he up against eight-seed Stefano Travaglia in the second round.
Also Read : Schwartzman looks to be the favourite at Cordoba this season
News Source : PTI
Schwartzman looks to be the favourite at Cordoba this season
(Tennis news) Diego Schwartzman is playing at the Cordoba Open for the fourth successive year. He has been playing since the inaugural edition but has not been able to take the trophy and for the third time he is the top seed with strong chances.
Schwartzman has reached three finals at home, twice at Buenos Aires and once at Cordoba. Although he took the title at Buenos Aires, it has been a struggle at Cordoba where the 29 year old lost the final in 2020 to Cristian Garin. Schwartzman is looking for a second title at home, this will be his fourth attempt to win at Cordoba and has been a wait since 2019. He has managed to reach the quarterfinals everytime, this year he might face Garin or Albert Ramos-Vinolas who had defeated him last year.
The former top 10 player reached the quarterfinals at Cordoba in 2019 and 2021. He has reached the quarterfinals this year and will play against Daniel Elahi Galan for place in the last four. The world number 14 has three titles at clay and 1 in hard court; he needs four more victories in clay to have 100 career clay victories. Although he has 107 victories in hardcourts, the clay has been more suited to his style. The groundstrokes and serve are not as fast like most of his opponents but his defence and speed made him the player he is now. The height factor has often come into question as most of the top players are above 6 feet and shorter players have a hard time rallying with them.
The top ranked Argentine is the only one from his country to be in the top 30 of the ATP rankings. He needs over 1500 points to crack the top 10, as of now he is 225 points below Cameron Norrie who is in 12th position. Schwartzman dropped a place below after his surprise exit in the second round at the 2022 Australian Open to Christopher O'Connell who was ranked 175 at that time.
The title victory will also help Schwartzman to come closer to making a comeback in the top of the rankings, a status he lost last year after being present for over 8 months. In 2019, he recorded 40 victories, in the next year there was a personal best ranking of 8 as he secured crucial victories. The 12 time tour finalist has time to build up his form, his season start was not expected but had defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup while leading his team. A victory at home will only boost up his confidence and again have a chance at competing in the year end finals.
Gasquet records second victory over Humbert this season
(Tennis news) Richard Gasquet had come from a set down to beat Ugo Humbert at the Australian Open a few weeks ago and this time it was the senior who found himself on the winning side. Humbert was again in the lead in the first set but a few errors gave the veteran the lead, even in the deciding set the 35 year old took the early break to set up a clash against Soonwoo Kwon. Gasquet defeated Humbert 6-7(3-7), 6-4, 6-3.
“I really like to play on this court,” said Gasquet, who was born in nearby Beziers. “With a crowd it’s really special to play here. That’s why I fought a lot in the second set. It was a great match against one of the best players in the world.”
Adrian Mannarino only lost his 6 points on his serve while beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the 1st round at Montpellier. Mannarino started the match well and finished with a four game lead over Fokina, even though the 22 year old was a few places above Mannarino it had no effect in the match. The world no 58 then took the lead in the 5th game of the second set which left Fokina questioning himself at the baseline. Mannarino defeated Fokina 6-2, 6-4.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga could not proceed further than the second round as he lost to Filip Krajinovic for the second time in as many meetings. Krajinovic showed good returns on Tsonga’s groundstrokes which seemed to lose the flamboyant touch as the Frenchmen lost the first set as he was unable to finish crucial points. In the second set, Tsonga had two breakpoints at 2-1 but the 29 year old hit a backhand drop shot to save the first one and then an unforced error was given which leveled the scores. At the tie break, Krajinovic was the one to take the points in the start as Tsonga’s court coverage was a bare minimum. Krajinovic defeated Tsonga 6-4, 7-6(7-2).
Roberto Bautista Agut was playing Gilles Simon for the 8th time and the Frenchmen was leading with 5 victories with the last one coming 4 years back in Pune. The Spaniard notched up his 7th victory of the season and it did not last long as Simon retired mid match due to an injury. Simon was down 1-3 in the first set but clawed his way back into the match but came close in the first set. In the second set, Simon signaled the umpire in the 6th game as he could not return the ball and Roberto will now face Alexander Bublik in the quarterfinals. Roberto defeated Simon 6-4, 3-2.
Kaia Kanepi re-enters top 100 in WTA rankings
(Tennis news) Kaia Kanepi has climbed up in the latest rankings issued by the WTA. Kanepi was ranked 115 a few weeks back and after her performance in Australia she is ranked 63. The 36 year old made it past the fourth round of a Grand Slam after a 5 year gap, she had reached the last eight at the 2017 US Open.
Kanepi beat 2016 Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber, Czech player Marie Bouzková and local player Maddison Inglis to reach the fourth round. The biggest upset was beating world number two Aryna Sabalenka to reach the quarter finals. It was one of the most inspiring performances at the women’s draw along with Alize Cornet as both players had shown that patience goes a long way in achieving one’s goals. Although both the players lost at the same stage, they had done well compared to the younger competitors.
The quarter final performance at the 2022 Australian Open saw her complete the feat in all the majors. The former world number 15 had reached the quarterfinals of the three slams by 2010 but had not reached the stage at Melbourne. She had first played at Melbourne in 2007 and had made her debut in Grand Slams at Roland Garros in 2006. After 15 years she finally got past the third round this year and the result has done justice to her rankings. Kanepi could not have had a better start to the season as she has always had mid-year winning streaks and maybe this time things can end differently.
The veteran player made the biggest leap of any major player in the newly-unveiled rankings, while Estonia's number one player, Anett Kontaveit, fell two places to ninth after a disappointing showing in Melbourne where she was knocked out in round two. Kanepi ultimately lost to Iga Swiatek and will now try to continue her performance at Roland Garros. Experience helped her get back at the younger opponents over the past few weeks, it has been almost 10 years since she reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
The right hander was ranked 15 in 2012 but it was in 2010 where she reached the quarterfinals in 2 consecutive Slams. She performed well at grass then went on to do the same at the US Open and after 2017 it was early exits which saw her rankings decline. This year she can aim to make her first semifinal at a major as after 16 years on tour there can still be hope for many.
Matteo Berrettini moves to career best number 6 in ATP rankings
(Tennis news) The 2022 Australian Open has given the boost in rankings in the WTA and the ATP tour. Matteo Berrettini moved closer to the top 5 as he is now one place below Rafael Nadal in the rankings. Berrettini has 5,278 points as of now and was number before the semi final run at Australia.
Berrettini had cracked the top 100 for the first time in 2018 and entered the top 50 next year since then it has been a steady rise. The 25 year old then cracked the top 10 in a gap of eight months after the top 50 climb, the only route he has taken for the past 4 years is upwards. The Italian has his country mate in the top 10 as Jannik Sinner is ranked at 10. While Berrettini has made his move in the Grand Slams, Sinner has been going through the Masters and also progressing in the majors.
Berrettini has reached quarter finals or more in the last four Grand Slams and lost to Novak Djokovic in three of them while it was Rafael Nadal at Australia. The 2021 season was the best for Berrettini as he finished the year with 41 wins and 12 losses of which 8 was by a player in the top ten.
There has not been major changes at the top in the men’s ranking as Novak Djokovic held his top spot even after missing the Australian Open. Daniil Medvedev will again try to get on top of the rankings which has been at the control of the big four for a long time. Medvedev had his chances last year at Wimbledon and at Roland Garros but Djokovic winning the titles in both the places did not help the Russian’s cause.
Gael Monfils will have a crack at the top ten after a 2 year gap as he rose four places to be in the 16th position now. Monfils was ranked as high as 6 in 2016 after which there was not much consistency from the player. Denis Shapovalov also jumped two places to be ranked 12 as he lost the top ten status in August after a string of losses, the Canadian was close to recording an upset over Nadal at Australia. Canada has Felix Auger-Aliassime who has been in number 9 for over 3 weeks now, the 21 year old was number 10 for a week in December last year and now has been maintaining the position. Roger Federer is ranked at 30, he is out of the top 25 after 20 years as he was last ranked 30 in 2001.
Danielle Collins enters top 10 in WTA rankings for the first time
(Tennis news) Danielle Collins made her debut in the top 10 WTA rankings after her performance at the 2022 Australian Open. She is currently the highest ranked American as Jessica Pegula is below 6 places at 16. Collins jumped 20 places after reaching her maiden Grand Slam final at Australia, her highest ranking before this month was 23 in 2019 after which her ranking did not wander around much.
The right hander has a strong backhand which can reach speeds around 130 to 140km/ hour. Her crosscourt backhand was very much visible at Melbourne especially with that bend in the knee and the long backswing which adds more power to the ball. The forehand also has a big swing and does not slice much of her shots even in the backhand.
Collins is also nine victories away from 200 career victories and will intend to reach the milestone by March. The 28 year old beat Elise Mertens and Iga Swiatek on her way to the final of the opening Grand Slam. She was a game away from winning the second set until home favorite Ashleigh Barty managed to break serve and take the set in a tiebreaker and win the title.
The world number 10 did not secure her first victory at the majors until the 2019 Australian Open where she reached the semifinals, beating former no 2 Angelique Kerber, Julia Georges and Caroline Garcia on the way. Collins had 5 majors before her big break at Melbourne and then in the next year it was at Roland Garros where she made an impact. She defeated Garbine Muguruza and Ons Jabeur on her way to the quarterfinals.
In the 2021 season she could not advance beyond the third round of any of the four majors but had a 12 match winning streak from the second week of July to August. She won the WTA 250 Palermo Ladies Open but her biggest victory was winning the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic WTA 500 event and brought her back to the top 30 of the rankings.
The WTA tour will have its next event on February 7th as this month has as many as 6 events. There are two WTA 500 events and the first WTA 1000 event of the season which is the Dubai Duty Free Championships. Collins has a few events to catch up on and ensure she stays in the top ten.
Zverev looking to bounce back at Montpellier after early exit in Australia
(Tennis news) After a busy tour in the first month, the 2022 season has now made its way out of Australia. The players are on the go as three events are currently going on at the same time. The Tata Open in India, Montpellier Open in France and Cordoba Open in Argentina. Cordoba Open will be the first clay event of the season and it will be the fast moving hard courts to the sliding dirt.
The Montpellier Open is into its 12th edition on tour and has seen three players out of France winning the title. Former player Tomas Berdych was the first player outside France to win the title and did it 10 years ago. This time too there are chances of breaking the tradition, here are four players to watch out for at the event.
Zverev will be needing a deep run in France after his disappointing exit at the 2022 Australian Open. The German lost to Denis Shapovalov in the fourth round, the wildcard entry this year won the title here in 2017 to become the second non French player after Berdych to win the title. The world number three has only played here twice in 2016, 2017 and made the last four in 16. He will start his run against the winner of Mackenzie McDonald and Ilya Ivashka.
One of the most successful players here along with Richard Gasquet, Monfils has always been able to find victories at home. The 35 year old still moves around the court faster than anyone and is a three time champion at Montpellier. He won the inaugural edition 12 years ago and is playing for the first time at the event since winning in 2020. Monfils reached the quarterfinals in the first Grand Slam of the year after five years and already has a title under his belt this season.
Roberto Bautista Agut
Roberto has always had a great opening season act and will now have to shift his form to France. The Spaniard was a tough one to beat at the ATP Cup and suffered a five set loss against Taylor Fritz in the third round at Melbourne. The world number 19 was the runner up last year to David Goffin, this time he will face the winner between Giles Simon and Lucas Pouille in the opening round.
Basilashvili last won a match three months ago as he is yet to open his account in the 2022 season. The world number 21 will be looking for his first victory in his fourth attempt at Montpellier, his hard hitting always has a way of finding itself at times as consistency is not his key strength.
Tata Open Maharashtra 2022 to be broadcasted on Star Sports
(Tennis news): The wait is finally over for tennis fans as exciting tennis action is set to be back in India after a one year absence as the Tata Open Maharashtra on Monday announced Star Sports as the official broadcaster for its fourth edition to be held at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune. The prestigious tournament will be telecasted live on Star Sports as the main draw will start from today January 31, and the event will go till February 6.
One of Asia's longest-running tennis tournaments, the Tata Open Maharashtra, organised by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association, will witness top international players including world number 15 Aslan Karatsev and defending champion Jiri Vesely vying for the singles title alongside seven other Top-100 players of the world, like teenage sensation Lorenzo Musetti and Portugal's best tennis player of all time Joao Sousa among others.
The tournament is owned by IMG and operated by RISE Worldwide in India. “We are glad that such a prestigious tournament is returning to India and will be hosted once again despite the challenges of the pandemic. Continuing the tradition and popularity of this tournament over the years, we are delighted that this year too, it will bring a treat for the fans as around 70 top players from 23 countries will be in action. And with the live broadcast, tennis enthusiasts will not be missing thrilling action and can watch it from the comforts of their home” said Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director of Tata Open Maharashtra.
Fans can enjoy the LIVE action of South Asia’s only ATP tournament on the Star Sports Select channel as well as it will be LIVE streamed on Disney+ Hotstar. Star Sports, which has been showing the tournament on its network for around 12 years, including the last three editions of Tata Open Maharashtra. Star Sports will live telecast the event for close to 50 hours across the week-long tournament.
The Indian challenge will be led by Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Arjun Kadhe in singles and three pairs will be participating in doubles led by Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan. They have been handed a direct entry into the main draw despite a strong line-up of international players.
Daniil Medvedev taking lessons from the 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) The 2022 Australian Open had its own troubles and controversies even before the players stepped on the court. The opening Grand Slam of the year navigated the focus into the players as the past three weeks were proof of the whole journey.
Daniil Medvedev too in his press conference talked about his journey and his entry to the top as a professional. The 25 year old was the strong favourite to take the title, his first Grand Slam came a few months back and he fought his way to a huge win. This time the pressure seemed to settle on the Russian’s territory.
Medvedev was quick and brutal in the first two sets of the match as it seemed like he would stop Rafael Nadal from making history. Even in the second set, Medvedev came back from 3-5 and saved a set point in the same game to settle in the tie breaker. Even in the tiebreaker the Spaniard had a 5-3 lead and then four consecutive points by the 2021 US Open winner saw him take a 2-0 set lead. Medvedev was almost there and was just a set away from winning his 2nd major.
In the third set, Medvedev squandered a 2-3 (0-40) lead as he had no answers to Nadal’s attacking winners. There are always setbacks in the game but one needs to motivate themselves to take clutch and do the deed. Medvedev has always had trouble with the audience, he has never held back from getting back at the crowd. Nadal and Roger Federer are known to be crowd pullers; their attitude on court is way better than the most of the next gen players.
The crowd seemed to have got behind Nadal as it was even pointed out by Medvedev. The next gen player needs to believe that there will always be the boos alongside fans who will cheer for him. One more important aspect of the match was after the second set the rallies became shorter as it was Nadal who did not wait for an unforced error but took the risk by forcing the opponent to move and struggle.
Medvedev also did not attack when needed, especially after the 5 hour mark when he failed to hold serve. He took the big guns whenever Nadal had the lead but could not do the same when the scorers were level. After the third set, the 21st Grand Slam pressure seemed less than the 2nd Grand Slam and the mental game seemed to fall apart for Medvedev. It affected his game, he did bring himself back in the final set from 3-5 to 5 all but again could not counter attack Nadal.
There was a 10 year gap between the two players and usually in a match that lasts for 5 and half hours the senior player is expected to exit first. Medvedev also had less variety of shots as compared to Nadal who at times used full advantage of Medvedev standing back at the court. While Medvedev started to become a bit more predictable, most of his second serves were towards Nadal’s backhand and the 20 time title winner started attacking from that side too. The next gen is still having trouble with the veterans and the youngsters need to start their journey by battling high tides of history.
Medvedev has no reason to lose hope in Australia, Nadal has lost 4 finals prior to this victory and had last won in 2009. There will be surfaces or crowds where a player has certain issues but with time those issues can be resolved. The two time runner up at Australia will be needing a lot of self motivation and a little push from others in the coming months as there are more crucial matches to catch up on.
Medvedev has indicated that he is not sure if he wants to play after turning 30 but can take inspiration from what has happened in Australia over the past few days. He has to focus on what's more important, a setback or what he can learn from the loss. He also has time in his hands, something which Nadal will most certainly cherish with his record 21st trophy.
Also read: I will try to go as far as I can and get confidence back: Musetti
I will try to go as far as I can and get confidence back: Musetti
Pune, Jan 30 (Tennis News) Emerging Italian star Lorenzo Musetti on Sunday said he is keen to make his mark in his debut appearance at the Tata Open Maharashtra tennis tournament, which begins here on Monday.
The 19-year-old second seed will start as one of the title contenders in the men's singles event in the fourth edition of South Asia’s only ATP 250 event at the Balewadi Stadium here.
“I’m here to win matches. I will try to go as far as I can and get the confidence that I used to have,” Musetti said during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
He is likely to face strong competition from top players like World No. 15 Aslan Karatsev and defending champion Jiri Vesely.
Musetti suffered first-round defeats at the season opener Adelaide 1 event and Australian Open.
“I played two good matches with two really great opponents. They showed they were playing best tennis and both the matches were close,” he said.
A Roger Federer fan, Musetti is one of the few players in the world with a strong single-handed backhand and he said it came naturally. Musetti had an impressive 2021 wherein he broke into the top-100, made Grand Slam debut and had two sets lead against the World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in a match at the French Open but retired in the fifth set. He rated that match as one of the best of his career.
“It helped me to understand a lot of things like I can be on that level and can reach there with my game. It was helpful especially for a young player who is coming on the tour. I hope to reach that level again and to play a lot of matches like that one,” Musetti concluded.
The tournament will continue till February 6.
Also Read : No change in playing style for Yuki but definitely more doubles tournament from now
News Source : PTI
No change in playing style for Yuki but definitely more doubles tournament from now
New Delhi, Jan 29 (Tennis News) Yuki Bhambri did not need to change his style of play or contain the aggression to protect his knees after making a comeback from an injury but the top Indian singles player says he would now play the "less taxing" doubles format "more actively" to prolong his tennis career.
At the peak of his career when he broke into the top-100 in 2018, Bhambri was eyeing a place in top-50 in the next season but injuries to both his knees took away his crucial three and a half years.
Then started a draining search for a reliable cure. Having consulted doctor after doctor, he finally got the treatment he needed, in the US, and was back on the courts in March 2021.
However, the comeback lasted just six tournaments as the knee began troubling him. He had to stop again.
Yet, he did not give up and got ready for 2022. He looked sharp, without any discernable discomfort in the Australian Open Qualifiers. His serve too was decent, if not great.
"I am playing exactly the same way. I always play aggressive. That's the way I play, taking my opportunities," Bhambri told PTI in interview as he geared up for Tata Open Maharashtra.
"I can not make point any shorter, apart for serve and volley but that is difficult in today's age." When pointed out that he did use the net quite often in Melbourne, Bhambri explained that it was because of the way the "surface was playing" and not because he was trying to protect his knees.
"The courts were faster in Australia, so it naturally came into play. The serve was faster, so you could put more pressure on the opponent. It was not deliberate to protect the knee.
"Maybe, in hindsight, having played a few doubles matches got me into that rhythm, it is a bit of everything but no change in game style." So, he did not keep the points short deliberately but considering the unpredictability around his injuries and the fact that he is almost touching 30, Bhambri will definitely prefer that his knees hold as much as possible.
The best way to not put pressure on the game and the body, is to play doubles. When it was expected that the highly-motivated Bhambri would say no to playing doubles, he surprised with his answer.
"Both options are there. You can never count out after seeing all the success we had had. That option is always going to be there. At the moment I am going to try and play as much as I can. I also want to get my doubles ranking up, more actively playing doubles event." "It is physically not taxing," he said indicating that his presence in doubles would be consistent.
He has already won two doubles titles, albeit on lower tier ITF events, with Saketh Myneni, and also played in Melbourne with old New Zealand partner Michael Venus.
They say more than the victory and success, it is the defeat and difficult times that help a human being learn new lessons. So what did Bhambri learn? "I have become a very good rehab specialist. My coaches and trainer joke that I am the real life version of Munna Bhai MBBS," he joked.
"Without a medical degree, I am pretty sure I am a top notch rehab specialist when it comes to knee injuries or ankle injuries or elbow injuries.
"I have already told the younger players if they need any sort of help, I would be the guy to go to because I know what works and what not." While Bhambri is sure about his game and his decision to play more doubles, but the reason behind his injuries remains a mystery for himself.
"There is no given reason. One doctor would say you have over-trained, another would say you are under-trained. It's not an accident that you have fallen down (and got the injury). I have been just unlucky. I did right things after getting injured. There is no text book to it." There were thoughts of giving up the game but his family and friends kept him motivated.
"I ended up doing a lot of fitness courses." "I would have been as disappointed if I were 500 or top-100 (when I got injured). It hurt a bit more but I created all those opportunity to play higher up -- the Grand Slams and the Masters.
"You work your way up and when you are able to taste the success and you have to start all over again, it is difficult, there is no question.
"But reaching that point also gave me the motivation to try and come back again and do it.
Bhambri assured that his knee looks perfect, and he is playing without pain but he will get sharper as he plays more.
"I did feel good getting into the tournament. I feel the more I play, sharper as I can be. The key for me here is to keep playing.
"It is difficult when you come after a break, after a long time, no matter how much practice you do, or how many practice sets you play, it's not the same feeling when the scores are all or when you are under pressure in the match. It wasn't bad, it was not great either, I know I can get better." Now ranked 1000, Bhambri won't be playing at the higher level. But he will certainly enter a few big events using his protected ranking of 129.
"I always try to revise my targets, it depends on how I am doing at the tournaments, what my ranking is. I am 1000 now, my next goal is to accumulate points, get to 400-500 and get into Challengers.
"Tennis is still the same, it's great to have in your mind (top-100, 50) as a goal but you still try to win every match."
Also Read : Daniil Medvedev once again in middle of Grand Slam history
News Source : PTI
Daniil Medvedev once again in middle of Grand Slam history
(Tennis news) Daniil Medvedev is once again a barricade on the way to history only this time Rafael Nadal is on the other end. A few months back it was Novak Djokovic whose attempt to win a calendar slam at the US Open was thwarted by Medvedev right at the final turn. This time it's the 2022 Australian Open, both are hardcourts and the odds are stacked evenly. Both players have so far spent 17 hours on court and have got a day’s rest to let it all out in the final.
Daniil Medvedev has lost 5 sets on his way to the final, his first major hurdle was a 3 hour battle with Nick Kyrgios in the second round then Felix Auger- Aliassime in the quarterfinals where Medevdev even saved a matchpoint. In the semifinal, the Russian was fined $12000 for his behaviour with the chair umpire and was in a hot streak after that against Stefanos Tsitsipas. He has had a simpler route than Nadal in the draw and needs to bring in the game that gave him first his major at the 2021 US Open.
Medvedev had lost to Djokovic at last year’s final but since then he has taken on bigger challenges and succeeded. He needs to extend the match and put Nadal on the backfoot as the Spaniard has already played a couple of long enduring matches. He also needs to serve the same way like he did in the semifinal as serve and volleys might actually help combat the world number five’s groundstrokes. The world number two also stands way behind the court but can choose to come in especially during the serve as the left hander is not among the top servers on the tour.
The 25 year old will need to let pressure get to Nadal as all the expectations must put down the veteran. Medvedev can bring home his 2nd Grand Slam title and once again stop one among the big three in creating history. Rafael Nadal has not broken a racquet yet in his career which shows how hard it is to break the man’s spirit. The 21st Grand Slam is on the line as he aims to become the first player to win more than 20 majors, an effort which Roger Federer and Djokovic have failed to do. The 20 time major winner has dropped 4 sets so far and has had tougher opponents than Medvedev.
Nadal is into his 29th Grand Slam final so it will be all the usual for him as he will know what to expect. This will be the first time both players meet at the Australian Open but played a 5 hour match in the final of the 2019 US Open which was Nadal’s 19th title. The 35 year old is playing his first Grand Slam since losing to Djokovic at Roland Garros last year but has a patent in making comebacks as injuries have also failed to halt his speed and strength.
In terms of court coverage, although Nadal has been around since 2001 his speed has also kept him company even after so many years. His stamina might not be the same as an opponent 10 years younger can certainly outrun him in the longer race. Nadal is into the final at Melbourne for the 6th time and has only won one of them. In 2009 he won the title beating Federer in the final, he lost to the Swiss maestro in 2017. In 2014 he lost to Stan Wawrinka and lost twice to Djokovic 10 years ago in a match that lasted 6 hours then again in 2019.
Nadal has won three matches against Medevdev but the last time they faced it was Medvedev who got ahead. Predictions are Medvedev in four or five sets but Nadal will be longing to lift the trophy after more than a decade and has chances of taking down the next gen.
Also read: Ashleigh Barty wins singles title at 2022 Australian Open
Ashleigh Barty wins singles title at 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty made sure that the home crowd cheered for her in the final of the women’s singles as she won her third Grand Slam title. The opening major of the year has now entered the final stage in all categories as the men’s singles finalists have also been confirmed. Daniil Medvedev will face Rafael Nadal in the final as the two players secured four set victories over their opponents in the semifinal.
In women’s singles, Ashleigh Barty made one of the best comebacks in Grand Slam finals as she beat Danielle Collins in the final of the 2022 Australian Open. The world number one did not lose a single set on the way to winning the title and was the first tiebreaker for both players in the event. Barty broke serve in the 6th game as Collins could not get a hold of the returns and could only win 1 point out of 16 off Barty’s serve.
In the second set, the American showed her determination by taking the first three games and then had a 5-1 lead as she was only a game away from forcing the match to a decider. Barty was on her way to losing her first set of the tournament and previous instances had seen the top players crumble under pressure especially when there is a lot depending on them.
Barty came back, maybe it was the crowd or the pressure which actually helped her cause this time. In the next four games, Collins could not get more than two points at each game as even a set point was not within reach. Now the 27th seed could not handle the weight as she was down 0-4 in the tie break and could only win two points at the end to get the runners up trophy in her maiden trip to a championship match. Barty defeated Collins 6-3, 7-6(7-2).
Barty has now won three titles in three finals at the Grand Slams as she continues to keep a strong hold on the rankings wheel. Collins will gain valuable ranking points as Barty will now be a part of a rich legacy at her home. Barty now only needs the US Open title to complete a career Grand Slam and has become the first Australian winner at Melbourne since Chris O'Neil in 1978.
The men’s singles and women’s doubles final will be the events on 30th January which is the last day of the 2022 Australian Open.
Also read: Ashleigh Barty set to face Danielle Collins in 2022 Australian Open final
Ashleigh Barty set to face Danielle Collins in 2022 Australian Open final
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty created history as she became the first Australian player in four decades to reach the final at Melbourne. The 2022 Australian Open has surely contributed to the history of the sport, the world number one will face Danielle Collins in the final of the women’s singles on January 29th.
In women’s singles, Barty continued her strong run to the final with yet another straight set victory over Madison Keys in the first semifinal. The Australian needed only an hour to get past her opponent as she beat her for the third time in four meetings. Barty has so far dropped 21 games on her way to the final, a feat which has only been bettered by Williams sisters since 2000. The two time Grand Slam winner never looked better as she hit 20 winners of which 13 came in the second set as she reached her 3rd major final. Barty defeated Keys 6-1, 6-3.
“I didn't quite have my rhythm on the first serve, but when I needed it most it was there,” Barty said in the press after beating Keys. “I know I can just throw it up and really trust it, go after my spots and try and get free points and back myself in.”
Danielle Collins reached the finals of a Grand Slam for the first time as she beat Iga Swiatek in the second semifinal. Collins had reached the semifinal at Melbourne 3 years ago which was her next performance at a major before this year. The 28 year old was strong on her serve and won the first four games of the match before Swiatek won her first game. In the second set, Collins again won the first four games as the upset was completed and the 7th seed could take one game before losing the match. Collins defeated Swiatek 6-4, 6-1.
“It feels amazing,” Collins said in her on-court interview. “It’s been such a journey, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s so many years of hard work, hours at an early age on court. Yesterday I was talking about all the early mornings my dad would get up with me and practice with me before school. It’s just incredible to be on this stage.”
In the mixed doubles, Kristina Mladenovic and Ivan Dodig beat Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler in the final to win the title. Mladenovic and Dodig had overcome 2nd seeded John Peers and Zhang Shuai in three setter in the semifinal. Mladenovic and Dodig defeated Fourlis and Kubler 6-3, 6-4.
In the men’s doubles, the finals will see an all Australian pair win the title as all the four players will have adequate support from the home crowd. Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis will face fellow countrymen Matthew Edben and Max Purcell in the championship match.
In the women’s doubles, world number one Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková will face Anna Danilina and Beatriz Haddad Maia in the final. Danilina and Beatriz had beaten 2nd seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara in the semifinal but will have a much tougher fight for the title. The women’s singles and men’s doubles will take place on January 29th as the men’s singles and women’s doubles final will take place on 30th January.
Medvedev, Berrettini have it tough to enter last four at Australia
(Tennis news) Matteo Berrettini created history at the 2022 Australian Open by becoming the first Italian to reach the semifinals at Melbourne. Daniil Medvedev too had his feathers rustled by Felix Auger Aliassime in the quarterfinals as the opening slam of the year is now coming to an end. The mixed doubles final will be the first one to get over as it will get over tomorrow.
In men’s singles, Berrettini secured his 3rd victory over Gael Monfils in as many meetings as the world number 7 will now face Rafael Nadal for a place in the final. Berrettini was serving and hitting well in the first two sets as it was power against speed; a single breakpoint in both sets was enough for him to take a 2 set lead against Monfils. The Frenchmen then won the next two sets as one breakpoint was enough to pocket the third set and had 7 chances but could only win 2 in the next.
Berrettini was drained of his energy but gained all of it back in the final set with a rock solid 4-0 lead. Monfils was fast but could not run up to his opponent’s net play and ended his run at the major after 3 hours and 45 minutes. Berrettini defeated Monfils 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2.
“It feels unbelievable,” Berrettini said in his on-court interview. “I am really happy for myself. I thought I had him in the third set and then I found myself in the fifth. But I really fought hard and put everything on the court and that is why I am really happy.”
Rafael Nadal entered the semifinals at Melbourne for the 7th time with a 5 set win against Denis Shapovalov. It was a four hour marathon between the two left handers and Nadal started well on serve by taking the first two sets. Shapovalov had complained to the umpire in between the match about Nadal taking too much time between the points as both the players came to the net to talk about it.
The third and fourth set saw Nadal being pushed away from victory as the Canadian made sure his opponent would suffer in the heat. The Spaniard answered back in the deciding set by taking the first 3 games and went on to win the set to enter the last four. Nadal defeated Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.
Daniil Medvedev had to spend more time on the court than Nadal and Berrettini as he was playing against Felix Auger Aliassime. Felix continued the same form he had while winning the ATP Cup, the world number 9 had only taken a set in their last three meetings and was bageled in the second set of the ATP cup semifinal against Medvedev.
Felix took the first two sets and was comfortably looking at a semifinal spot until Medvedev gave no chance in the third set tiebreaker. The world number 2 then saved a matchpoint in the fourth set at 4-5 and got himself out of the tense situation to take the match to the deciding set. A break in the fourth game bailed him out as it was now Felix who tried to get himself back on track but could not make it back to shore. Medvedev defeated Felix 6-7(4-7), 3-6, 7-6(7-2), 7-5, 6-4.
“I was not playing my best and Felix was playing unbelievably,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. He was serving unbelievably, he was all over me. When they closed the roof I felt the momentum change, that I could hit through the court better.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas was the only player who had a straight set win in the quarterfinals as the other three had to play 5 setters to enter the last four. The Greek god took 2 hours to beat Jannik Sinner who had no chance of giving Berrettini company. Tsitsipas looked more powerful than Sinner as the groundstrokes were considerably charged up in most of the rallies. The 20 year old only gave away 4 breakpoints in the match but that was enough to complete a quality victory. Tsitsipas defeated Sinner 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
Tata Motors extends partnership of Tata Open Maharashtra for 4th successive year
(Tennis news) India’s leading multinational automobile manufacturer Tata Motors has extended its partnership as title sponsor of Tata Open Maharashtra for the fourth consecutive year. The tournament is set to be held from January 31st to February 6th 2022 at the Balewadi Stadium. The tournament is South Asia’s only ATP and India’s oldest sporting international event.
Commenting on the association, Mr. Rajan Amba, Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Customer Service, Passenger Vehicles, Tata Motors, said, “India has a great sporting culture and we, at Tata Motors, always believed in making our country a sporting powerhouse with the support we can offer. We are elated to be back for the fourth consecutive year as the title sponsor for Tata Open Maharashtra.
“We are celebrating the second anniversary of Tata Altroz, which has set the gold standard as India’s safest hatchback and we look to focus our engagements for it during the tournament. Tata Altroz, much like the athletes in this tournament, has won the hearts of millions of Indians and continues to delight everyone with its premium offerings. We are confident to drive tremendous value from this association and hope to share the joy of watching some great tennis as always through this tournament.”
The IMG owned tournament which is organized by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association and licensed by Rise World was supported by Tata between 2002 to 2004 when it was held in Chennai. The Tata Group then offered to support the event in 2018 when it shifted to Pune and the partnership has grown stronger since then.
“The tournament has always attracted top players each year and boasts of a history of completing 25 years of World class tennis organized, played and followed in India by tennis fans. We are delighted that Tata Motors have extended their support for this tournament since it was shifted to Pune in 2018. The tournament and the Tata Group share a rich legacy and we are extremely grateful for their continued involvement and being part of this journey,” said Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director of Tata Open Maharashtra.
Nine players from the top 100 will be competing in the tournament this year headlined by World No.15, Russian Aslan Karatsev who was adjudged the ATP’s Most Improved Player of the Year in 2021 and won the Sydney Tennis Classic recently after defeating Andy Murray. With regards to Indians participating in the tournament, Yuki Bhambri (singles) , Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan (doubles) have secured direct entry. The tournament will be returning after a one year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the qualifying rounds will be scheduled from January 30th and 31st while the main draw will begin from February 1st.
Sabalenka and Halep crash out of the Australian Open
(Tennis news) With only 5 days left for the final, the 2022 Australian Open is seeing more of the top seeds endanger their rankings as one more record was created at the opening Grand Slam. Last week it was Taylor Fritz and now it's Alizé Cornet who is making her first quarterfinal appearance at a major after 63 previous Grand Slam appearances. It is the most by any player and the 32 year old defeated Simona Halep to make it to the last eight at Melbourne.
In women’s singles, Cornet was meeting Halep for the 5th time and recorded her fourth victory over the Romanian. A second break of serve in the middle of the set gave the 32 year old the lead and Halep came back in the next set by breaking the serve four times as it was the first time a deciding set was needed in their career meeting. Halep lost a crucial break point in the 6th game and in the very next game hit a backhand into the net to give the break to Cornet. Cornet defeated Halep 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
"I'm not closing any door to keep going," Cornet said. "But I gave so much to this game and to this tennis life. I feel I'm pretty much ready for the next chapter. At least by the end of the year, I think I'll be ready."
Kaia Kanepi was in the fourth round for the first time at the Australian Open and celebrated it with a victory over Aryna Sabalenka. The world number 2 had faced Kanepi last year at Melbourne and had lost in three sets. It was the result for Sablenka as the world number 115 made the quarterfinals of a major after 5 years. Kanepi was winning the short rallies but both the players hit over 30 winners in a 2 and half hour span.
Kanepi seemed to have positioned the ball better against Sabalenka even though both of them had heavy groundstrokes. Sabalenka had 21 unforced errors in the third set and was even down 2-4 but still came back to make it to the tie break. At the tie break it was just not enough as Kanepi progressed into the last eight. Kanepi defeated Sabalenka 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (10-7).
In men’s doubles, the Australian pair of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis continued their magical run when they beat 6th seeds Tim Putz and Michael Venus to reach the semifinals. The crowds were chanting every time the player won a point as the Kia Arena made sure the pair did not lose an inch of motivation at any point of time. Kyrgios and Kokkinakis defeated Tim and Michael 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.
Also read: Zverev, Sakkari, and Badosa go down in straight sets at Australia
Sania bids adieu to Australia Open with quarterfinal loss in mixed doubles
Melbourne, Jan 25 (Tennis News) Trailblazing India tennis star Sania Mirza’s swansong appearance at the Australian Open ended with a quarterfinal loss to local pair Jaimee Fourlis and Jason Kubler in the mixed doubled event here on Tuesday.
Mirza, partnering American Rajeev Ram, lost the match 4-6, 6-7 to wildcard entries Fourlis and Kubler in one hour 30 minutes.
The 35-year-old Mirza is India's most accomplished woman tennis player, having won six Grand Slam titles, including three mixed doubles trophies.
She was aiming to add a second Australian Open mixed doubles title to her kitty after making a first round exit in the women’s doubles event last week.
The Melbourne Park has been a happy hunting ground for Mirza, who recently announced that she will retire at the end of this season. Two of her six Grand Slam titles have come at the Australian Open.
Apart from winning the mixed doubles title in 2009 with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi, Mirza also collected to the women’s doubles trophy alongside Swiss great Martina Hingis in 2016, which was also her last Grand Slam win.
With Mirza’s defeat, the Indian challenge also came to an end in the fist Slam of the year.
Also Read : Zverev, Sakkari, and Badosa go down in straight sets at Australia
News Source : PTI
Australian McDermott, WI's Shepherd eye maiden IPL deals
Melbourne, Jan 25 (Cricket News) Australian opener Ben McDermott and West Indies all-rounder Romario Shepherd are banking on their recent impressive performances to bag a maiden IPL deal, having gone unsold in the previous seasons of the lucrative T20 league.
McDermott wrapped up an impressive Big Bash League season, that saw him being voted as the Player of the Tournament on Monday, while also earning a recall to the Australia T20 side for the Sri Lanka series next month.
The 27-year-old was also the BBL's highest run scorer with 577 at a strike rate of 153.86.
McDermott, who has played 17 T20Is and two ODIs for Australia, has never featured in the IPL. He went unsold last season.
"There's not too much I can do now, it's all up to those people in charge," McDermott was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
"I'm excited. It's always an exciting time just to watch, last year I remember Riley Meredith getting picked up for the big bucks and sitting there watching him in our hotel rooms in quarantine in New Zealand." Last year, the Australian pace duo of Riley Meredith (Rs 8 crore) and Jhye Richardson (Rs 14 crore) had landed hefty contracts with Punjab Kings after a successful BBL season.
Shepherd, on the other hand, blasted an unbeaten 44 off 28 balls to take West Indies within one run of England's total in second T20 International in Bridgetown on Sunday.
The 27-year-old smashed five maximums and a four under pressure while also taking a wicket earlier in the game.
"I try to focus on what is at hand right now and try and put my all in here," Shepherd, who has entered February's auction with a Rs 75 lakh base price, was quoted as saying by ‘ESPNCricinfo’.
"Eventually, if an IPL contract comes, that would be great for me. I'm not saying that I don't think about it - I do think about it, but I try not to think about it during a game, I just focus on wherever the game is and trying to get ourselves out of a situation," he added.
Shepherd is one of the 41 players from the Caribbean who have registered for the mega auction.
"It's a great platform. For any youngster, it's their dream to go to the IPL and I'm no different. I'm trying my best to get myself in there, but at the same time trying to win a series here.
"It's something that I've dreamed about for a very long time. My name was in the [auction] for the last three years, so this year, I'm looking forward to it,” he added.
The IPL is expanding to a 10 team tournament this year. With two new teams -- Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises -- coming in, a two-day mega auction is slated to be held in Bengaluru on February 12 and 13.
The league is set to begin in the last week of March.
Also Read : S African Indian-origin cricket commentators laud Proteas captain Temba Bavuma
News Source : PTI
Zverev, Sakkari, and Badosa go down in straight sets at Australia
(Tennis news): The men’s draw of the 2022 Australian Open saw world number 3 Alexander Zverev failing to progress beyond the fourth round. It was also the same for Maria Sakkari and Paula Badosa as three top 10 players made their way out of the competition.
In men’s singles, Denis Shapovalov made his third career Grand Slam quarterfinal when he beat Alexander Zverev in straight sets in the fourth round. Shapovalov had never made it past the third round since making his debut at Australia 4 years ago, this was also their first career meeting in a Grand Slam. Shapovalov got an early break in the first set and in the second was two points away from losing it but got it right in the tiebreaker. Zverev was also seen breaking his racket in between the match as the German will have to wait a few more months to get a shot for his first major. Shapovalov defeated Zverev 6-3, 7-6(7-5), 6-3.
“I think off the ground I was playing really well, really feeling my shots off both wings,” said Shapovalov. “I played pretty smart today, it felt like things were going my way early on. I lost a little bit of momentum mid-way in the second set but fought well to come back and just kind of rolled with it after.”
Jessica Pegula got her first victory over Maria Sakkari in their third ever meeting in the fourth round. The world number 8 had never progressed past the fourth round of the Australian Open and it did not change this year too when Pegula made her 2nd consecutive quarter final at Australia. The 21st seed had a close call in the first set as she lost set points in the 8th game but at the tie break she won 7 points as Sakkari was at 0. In the next set, it only took 40 minutes for Pegula to win 34 points and one break of serve to fight against Ashleigh Barty in the next match. Pegula defeated Sakkari 7-6(7-0), 6-3.
"It was a little hot out there today, so I didn't really want to kind of play a lot of long points," Pegula said after her win. "I thought I really had to step up and be aggressive when I had the chance to. Luckily I was able to capitalize on that pretty well today and play a pretty clean match, I think.
Madison Keys made the quarterfinals at Australia for the first time in four years as she defeated Paula Badosa in their first ever career meeting. Keys had last reached the last eight here in 2018 and will be aiming for a second semifinal after reaching the last four in 2015.
The world number 51 took a 4-1 lead in the first set as the Spaniard held her serve in the last few games but could not break her opponent’s serve. Keys won the first three games of the match until Badosa held her serve and then again there was 3 in a row by Keys to end the fourth round battle in an hour. Keys defeated Badosa 6-3, 6-1.
Taylor Fritz reaches fourth round for first time in Grand Slams at Australia
(Tennis news) Day 6 of the 2022 Australian Open saw the draws taking predictable turns in most of the matches. Taylor Fritz reached a personal milestone as he went into the second week of a Grand Slam event for the first time.
Fritz beat Roberto Bautista Agut for the second time in 7 matches and for the first time in three years. The Spaniard had beaten Fritz in the last three matches including their last meeting in 2021 at Monte Carlo. Roberto had been one of the players to watch out for in the ATP Cup but the American hit 73 winners which was more than double of what Roberto hit. Fritz also hit 19 aces and hit more than 10 winners in every set. He bageled the 33 year old in the first set but lost the next two sets as he came back into the match like a true fighter. Fritz defeated Roberto 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“It seems stupid, like after that match I was almost close to tearing up a bit” said Fritz. “So many people have made the second week of Slams, but it's just eluded me for so long. It means a ton, I'm proud, it didn't come easy, I beat an incredibly tough guy.”
Felix Auger-Aliassime continued his incredible start to the season as he reached the fourth round for the second consecutive time at the Australian Open. Felix had lost to Daniel Evans last year at Melbourne 2 in the final and wanted to set things right in their second meeting. The 21 year old took the first set under 50 minutes and further decreased the time in the next two sets. He was ahead of Evans in all aspects of the game, Felix had hit one unforced error than his opponent but everything else was just how his coach wanted it to be. Felix defeated Evans 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.
“It’s definitely one of the best Grand Slam performances I’ve had,” said Auger-Aliassime after the match. “It was a tight first set, I was fortunate to get that break point to serve out and after that for some reason everything was working for me today. I’m really happy because the first two matches were really tough for me, so I’m happy to be through in straight sets.”
In women’s singles, Simona Halep has so far spent 3 and half hours on count in her first three matches. The 14th seed has not conceded more than 7 games in a match as she reached the fourth round by beating Danka Kovinic in straight sets. Kovinic had beaten Emma Raducanu in the previous match but failed to crack the Romanian puzzle. Halep defeated Kovinic 6-2, 6-1.
World number 2 Aryna Sabalenka had to come from a set down to beat Marketa Vondrousova. Vondrousova broke Sabalenka’s serve in the 7th game of the first set to take the lead and serve her way to the lead. Sabalenka answered back as the 32nd seed could only win 4 games in the next two sets. Sabalenka defeated Vondrousova 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Also read: Osaka ousted as Kyrgios and Kokkinakis deliver double delight at Australia
Osaka ousted as Kyrgios and Kokkinakis deliver double delight at Australia
(Tennis news) Day 5 of the 2022 Australian Open saw the upsets continue in the women’s draw and a rocky start to the men’s doubles and mixed doubles. Naomi Osaka was only a point away from proceeding to the next round but was not able to taste victory as Amanda Anisimova came back from the dungeons.
It was the perfect gift for the home crowd when the pair of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis pulled off an incredible win in the men’s doubles. In the mixed doubles, Giuliana Olmos and Marcelo Arévalo showed the exit door for the top seeds.
In women’s singles, two time champion and also the defending one; Osaka had a good start by breaking Anisimova’s serve in the first game as she kept the lead till the end of the first set. In the second set it was again a single break which decided the outcome of the set but this time it was the 20 year old’s turn as she took the set. In the decider, a 5 minute 10th game saw the four time Grand Slam champion lose two match points as it was 5-5 now. In the tiebreak, Osaka fell behind in the start and did not move from there as she lost in the third round for the second time in 2 years. Anisimova defeated Osaka 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10-5).
Victoria Azarenka recorded her 5th victory over Elina Svitolina as the pair met for the first time at a Grand Slam. Azarenka only conceded 10 points in the first set as she bageled the world number 17 in 25 minutes. Svitolina had 13 unforced errors in both the sets as she lost 8 consecutive games in the match, there was resistance only in the final game of the match which went on for 13 minutes but it was over for the Ukrainian. Azarenka defeated Svitolina 6-0, 6-2.
In men’s doubles, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić were the best doubles pair in the 2021 season with 9 titles in 12 finals including the Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics, but all the records did not matter one bit as Kyrgios and Kokkinakis hit 17 aces as compared to 4 by the number one ranked pair in the world. The Australian pair went from surviving the tiebreak to winning it in the first set and seemed to be enjoying their time in the doubles draw. Kyrgios and Kokkinakis defeated 7-6(10-8), 6-3.
In mixed doubles, the top seed of Desire Krawczyk and Joe Salisbury saved multiple set points in the first set tie break and were on their way to victory in the second with a 4-1 lead but Olmos and Arévalo took 6 continuous games to take the set. From there on the pair took the lead in the third set and won it comfortably. Olmos and Arévalo defeated Krawczyk and Salisbury 6-7(7-9), 6-4, 10-5.
In women’s doubles, last year’s US Open finalists Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai had to leave early as they were beaten by the younger pair of Bernarda Pera and Magda Linette in the second round. Stosur and Zhang took the first 4 games of the match until they lost the next four but somehow managed to take the lead in the tiebreak. Pera and Linette took the next set in 28 minutes as they took 5 games in a row. The final set saw the last two games stretch for 24 minutes as Pera and Linette defeated Stosur and Zhang 6-7(6-8), 6-1, 7-5.
In men’s singles, there was very little to separate between Carlos Alcaraz and Matteo Berrettini in a four hour third round match. Berrettini was up and away in the first set and it all looked cool in the second as he had a 4-2 lead over the teenager. Alcaraz then picked up a hat trick of games as suddenly he looked on top but could not keep it going as the Italian again raced ahead and in the tie break there was no chance for the Spaniard. In the next two sets, Alcaraz had mid set inspiration which somehow Berrettini could not conquer and it was down the deciding set. Both players were holding serve till the tie break and again it was Berrettini who edged the junior ahead with a 5 point lead to enter the fourth round. 6-2, 7-6(7-3), 4-6, 2-6, 7-6(10-5).
Serbia finally had good news as Miomir Kecmanovic continued his best run at a major by beating Lorenzo Sonego in 4 sets to advance to the round of 16. Kecmanovic had tons of opportunities for a 2-0 set lead but gave it away as Sonego put pressure on the Serbian. The pressure made the 22 year old play even better as he took the third set 6-2. In the fourth set Kecmanovic came back from a 2-4 deficit to climb up and beat the Italian. Kecmanovic defeated Sonego 6-4, 6-7(8-10), 6-2, 7-5.
Muguruza, Kontaveit and Raducanu fail to survive day 4 of Australian Open
(Tennis news) Day 4 of the 2022 Australian Open has been the most cruel one yet with the women’s draw suffering the most. Garbine Muguruza, Anett Kontaveit and Emma Raducanu faltered in their second round matches as they were the highest ranked casualties of the day. In the men’s side it was all over for Diego Schwartzman, Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov. The mixed doubles event was flagged off today.
In women’s singles, 2021 US Open winner Emma Raducanu could not hold a 3-0 lead in the opening set against Danka Kovinić who took the set 6-4. In the second set, with a strong backhand and slice forehand combination the 19 year old took the second set to level the scores. In the deciding set, Kovinić won a crucial point in the 6th game by breaking Raducanu’s serve with a backhand lob as it cost the teenager the match. Kovinić defeated Raducanu 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Muguruza could not serve well against Alize Cornet as she suffered a straight set defeat in the second round. The Spaniard faced 10 breakpoints in the opening set but did defend 9 of them as one service break gave away the lead to Cornet who won all of her service games to take the set. In the second set, the 31 year old broke serve with a forehand cross court passing shot to take a 3-2 lead on serve and broke the world number 3 in the final game. Cornet defeated Muguruza 6-3, 6-3.
Anett Kontaveit could not bring in her late 2021 form against Clara Tauson who was playing in the Australian Open for the first time. The 19 year old had 20 winners and if there was a loose ball it did not stand a chance to be returned back into her side of the court. Tuson’s backhand swing also went back as far as possible and then like a golf shot put full force into the racket while connecting with the ball. Tauson defeated Kontaveit 6-2, 6-4.
In men’s singles, Taro Daniel entered the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time as he beat Andy Murray in a three setter match. Daniel had a brilliant net play against the former world number one and saved 9 of his 11 breakpoints on serve. Murray also hit 49 unforced errors as compared to 21 by Daniel. Daniel defeated Murray 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
Benoit Paire got his third victory over Grigor Dimitrov in a battle of old gen players. The pair had last met 6 years ago at Tokyo in which the Frenchmen prevailed. Paire had been out of form in the last season but found his charm at the right time for the season opener against the Bulgarian. The match had 97 winners and 90 unforced errors as both players took risks in most of the rallies. Paire defeated Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(4-7), 7-6(7-2).
Christopher O'Connell took out the big guns against Diego Schwartzman as the Argentine faced a similar situation last year at Melbourne. Schwartzman has now been knocked out in the second round for 2 consecutive years by a player outside the top 100 at the Australian Open. O'Connell had received a wildcard to play the major and had beaten Hugo Gaston in the opening match. The Australian attacked with his strokes as Schwartzman played it safe and paid the price. O'Connell defeated Schwartzman 7-6(8-6), 6-4, 6-4.
Is Serve and Volley losing its significance in the current era of Tennis?
(Tennis news) Serve and Volley was as common as the now seen tweener on the ATP tour many years ago. Over the years, the court has become slower and the rallies have become longer. Now it's about who can hold the longest not finish the quickest, serve and volley has failed to survive in today’s game. The technique is indeed tough to learn and is even harder to execute in present conditions.
The Serve and Volley is one of the toughest plays in the sport. It requires the player to immediately advance towards the net after the serve and the rallies would be shorter. Now due to the slower courts, there are more rallies as the players are at the back of the court and there is time to get to the ball. At the net, there is little time and it is more difficult to get some angles as without ball control it would make an unforced error. For a Serve and Volley, the player has to have a good serve whether it is fast or has a great angle and then has to finish it on the volley by a drop shot or sending the ball to the other side of the court.
A dying strategy which was used by every player 20 years ago is now almost extinct. Now players finish points from the baseline as the netplay has come down to a great extent, players like Feliciano Lopez and Ivo Karlovic are still heavily relying on the serve and volley. Roger Federer also used to employ the tactic in his earlier days against Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Goran Ivanišević and many others but he too did not use it much. Boris Becker’s diving volley in Wimbledon and Pete’s slam dunk smash at the net has been one of the end products of the serve and volley.
The racket change from the 1970’s saw it becoming lighter and the wooden ones became out of fashion. The strings have also kept changing and with the polyester strings coming into the market in the 90’s replacing the synthetic gut it has not changed ever since. The lighter rackets and better string control can give a chance to players for more control and faster movements but so far no player has been able to prove it.
The longer the player is at the net the more vulnerable he is to losing the point. The reflexes cannot work for long as it is bound to get missed or hit out. That is why the doubles game has fewer rallies as compared to the singles. The next gen players rarely use the technique as now it's more about power and the match duration has also increased. Although it has given many Grand Slams to the past players now it will be tough to come out on top.
Felicano Lopez extends Grand Slam record at 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Spain has been producing resilient warriors on the ATP tour since the past two decades. The players have been standing strong on clay, grass and hardcourts with their longevity. The Spaniards have been known for playing it rough and from the baseline such as David Ferrer, Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moya, Juan Carlos Ferrero and the latest sensation Carlos Alcaraz.
The most common trait in all these players is that they have been lifting trophies playing from the baseline and their sheer power is one of the abilities. These players slid through the clay courts with dirt on their sleeves. One of the players who slides but at the net has been Feliciano Lopez, he is one of the last remaining players on tour to still practice the serve and volley.
In a time where everyone is a baseliner, Lopez has continued to use the serve and volley. The 40 year old has the record for most Masters 1000 event appearances, he played his 139th event in Indian Wells last year. Now at the 2022 Australian Open, he played his 79th consecutive Grand Slam event which dates back to the 2002 Roland Garros.
Lopez has played 178 Grand Slam singles matches and has won 98 of them. He lost in the first round of the ongoing Australian Open and his last victory at a major came here a year ago. The left hander also passed 500 wins last year on tour and became the 55th player in the history to achieve this feat. Unlike his country mates who have been struggling at grass, he has won 4 titles and two runner up trophies in singles on grass.
Lopez has also found success in doubles where he won the Roland Garros title in 2016 with Marc Lopez and also reached the finals of the US Open with him the next year. In 2019, Lopez went on to win the singles and doubles title at Queen’s club as it showed how much the sport meant to him.
In the Davis Cup held last year, the veteran was up against Andrey Rublev in the match against Russia. Lopez did not back down to the Russian’s blasting groundstrokes and won him over with a classic display of serve and volley. The world number 5 could not get through Lopez’s volley as the senior kept stretching on court to take the points and win the match.
Lopez has been playing on tour since 1997 which is the year before Roger Federer turned professional. A handful of players are left on tour who were born in the 80’s and still in the top 100 as the tour calendar contains a lot of traveling and grueling matches but players like these make the game special as they have seen how the style has changed over the years, Lopez has managed to keep his style and has kept the art alive.
Sania-Ram pair moves into Australian Open mixed doubles second round
Melbourne, Jan 20 (Tennis News) Sania Mirza and her American partner Rajeev Ram moved into the mixed doubles second round of the Australian Open with a confident straight-set win over the Serbian team of Aleksandra Krunic and Nikola Cacic, here on Thursday.
Ram came out serving big and also stayed like a rock at the net as he anchored the 6-3 7-6(3) win in the opening round that lasted 69 minutes. Ram is a defending champion in the event. He had won the mixed title here with Czech partner Barbora Krejcikova in 2021.
Mirza, who will retire after the 2022 season, also served well in the contest.
They had a chance to go up as early as in the second game but Mirza buried a forehand into the net on the deciding point.
The team got another chance on the serve of Krunic but that chance also went abegging when Mirza could not finish the point with a volley. However, they got the break on the deciding point.
Ram then served out the next game at love for a 4-1 lead.
Mirza too made a lot of first serves as the team cruised towards a first-set lead. Ram's solid serving and Mirza's smooth volleys sealed the set for the Indo-American team.
Mirza unleashed her big forehand to Krunic on a weak return from Cacic to earn the first break chance of the second set. But the Indian hit the forehand long on the deciding point.
A stunning cross court winner by Mirza earned the team two break points on Krunic's serve in the sixth game.
But the Serbians held the game as Krunic served wide and Mirza's return was dispatched for a volley winner by Cacic.
At 5-5, Krunic came out serving big for a crucial hold and now Mirza had to serve under pressure to stretch it to a tie-breaker. But the Indian made no mistake and served out the game at love.
Both Krunic and Cacic lost a point each on their serves to hand the Indo-American duo three match points. An error in return of serve by Cacic sealed it for Mirza and Ram.
Rohan Bopanna is also in fray in the mixed doubles event. He has paired up with Croatia's Darija Jurak Schreiber and will be in action on Saturday.
Also Read : Hurkacz and Bencic fall in second round of of Australian Open
News Source : PTI
Hurkacz and Bencic fall in second round of of Australian Open
(Tennis news) The men’s draw saw the biggest casualty yet as the second round began in the 2022 Australian Open. Hubert Hurkacz at no point of time had hopes of making a comeback against Adrian Mannarino and it was also doomsday for Belinda Bencic as she was beaten by Amanda Anisimova. The doubles matches started today in both the draws.
Hurkacz movement around the court was nowhere near Mannarino who fought till the last point of the match. The 10th seed seemed to be very rigid during the rallies as the left hander did not let any service breaks go to vain. Mannarino has never gone past the third round and will be eager to reach when he faces Aslan Karatsev in the next round. Mannarino defeated Hurkacz 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
Sebastian Korda picked up his first five set victory over Corentin Moutet in a match that lasted for almost five hours. Moutet kept attacking from the baseline with his forehand as Korda kept coming to the net and finished most of his points standing in the front. The world number 100 kept most of his strokes in the safezone while the next gen player had 92 unforced errors. In the 8th game of the deciding set, Korda surprised the whole court with a forced late reaction dropshot which left Moutet staring in agony as the chair umpire confirmed it being a legitimate shot. Korda defeated Moutet 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(2-7), 7-5, 7-6(10-6).
Karen Khachanov was an all rounder in his second round match against Benjamin Bonzi. The Russian hit 46 winners with his forehand causing the most trouble and served 19 aces. Bonzi had his chances to take it to the tiebreak in the third set but an unforced error gave Khachanov a breakpoint and a route to the third round. Khachanov defeated Bonzi 6-4, 6-0, 7-5.
In women’s singles, Tokyo Olympics singles gold medallist Belinda Bencic was beaten in straight sets by Amanda Anisimova. Bencic broke Amanda’s serve in the first game of the match but could only do it twice in the whole match. The 20 year old had 13 breakpoints in the match and could only win 5 of them but it was enough for a first time win against Bencic in their second career meeting. Amanda defeated Bencic 6-2, 7-5.
Victoria Azarenka only needed 72 minutes to beat Jil Teichmann in a one sided match. Azarenka had four breakpoints in the match which she won and Teichmann had 5 of them in the first set but could not convert any. Teichmann was also winning more points in the 1st serve overall but could only win 5 of the 24 second serves and lost 5 consecutive games in the second set. Azarenka defeated Teichmann 6-1, 6-2.
In men’s doubles, the Dutch pair of Robin Haase and Botic van de Zandschulp beat the 15th seeded pair of Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcelo Arévalo in a match that lasted for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Rojer and Arévalo lost 6 of the 7 breakpoints they had as it denied them the crucial points while Haase and Zandschulp had only won 1 of their 2 breakpoints. The numbers were against the winning pair but they played well to take the final set. Haase and Zandschulp defeated 6-7(5-7), 7-6(10-8), 10-8.
In women’s doubles, Rebecca Peterson and Anastasia Potapova beat Nina Stojanović and Irina-Camelia Begu in a 1st round upset. Rebecca and Anastasia served 8 double faults but that didn’t stop the pair in making a comeback in the deciding set to defeat Stojanović and Irina 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Sania to retire after 2022 season, says body is wearing down
Melbourne, Jan 19 (Tennis News) India tennis star Sania Mirza on Wednesday announced that 2022 will be her last season since her body is "wearing down" and motivation and energy for the everyday grind is not the same anymore.
Mirza, 35, had returned to tennis after giving birth to her son in March 2019 but her progress was later thwarted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mirza made the retirement announcement after losing the Australian open women's doubles first round with partner Nadiia Kichenok.
"There's a bunch reasons for it. It's not as simple as 'okay I'm not going to play'. I do feel my recovery is taking longer, I do feel, considering my son is three years old, I'm putting him at risk by travelling so much with him, that's something I have to take into account," Mirza said at the post-match press conference.
"My body is wearing down. My knee was really hurting today and I'm not saying that's the reason we lost but I do think that it is taking time to recover as I'm getting older," she said.
Also Read : Bopanna-Vasselin pair's campaign ends in first round
News Source : PTI
Bopanna-Vasselin pair's campaign ends in first round
Melbourne, Jan 19 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin were knocked out of the Australian Open men's doubles event by wild card pair of Chirstopher Rungkat and Treat Huey here on Wednesday.
Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin began confidently but lost momentum mid-way to lose 6-3 6-7(2) 2-6 in the opening round that lasted one hour and 48 minutes.
Phillippines' left-hander Huey's exceptional service games and net play was crucial in the outcome of the match while Indonesian Rungkat, who initially appeared a weak link, gradually upped his game.
Rungkat's hitting from the baseline improved remarkably as the match wore on.
The Indo-French pair got the first break chance in the fourth game when Bopanna hit a crushing forehand winner past Huey at 15-30 on the serve of Rungkat, who could not put the ball across the net on the next point.
That break positioned Bopanna to serve out the set in the ninth game and he did that with ease, at love, with his booming serves.
Rungkat and Huey came out all guns blazing in the opening game of the second set, attacking Bopanna's serve and earned two breakpoints with a flurry of winners but could convert none.
Both the pairs held serves throughout the second set, which was decided by a tie-breaker.
In the 11th game, though, Roger-Vasselin and Bopanna earned two break chances but their rivals saved both. It was a winner from Roger-Vasselin and a Rungkat forehand error that put the wild cards 15-40.
The wild card pair reeled off six straight points in tie-breaker from 1-2 to level the match.
The momentum changed dramatically after that with Rungkat and Huey dominating the contest by breaking their rivals with ease. They raced to a 5-1 lead with a double break. The Indonesian then served out the match.
Also Read : Kerber, Kvitova and Isner knocked in opening round of Australian Open
News Source : PTI
Kerber, Kvitova and Isner knocked in opening round of Australian Open
(Tennis news) The first two day have not been kind to the seeds as they kept the trend on day 2 of the 2022 Australian Open. Multiple Grand Slam winners Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber made their way out of Melbourne in the first round of the event. In the men’s field, it was a bad start to the season for John Isner, Ugo Humbert and Nikoloz Basilashvili.
In men’s singles, Andy Murray has been playing a couple of stretched matches as he played a four hour match against Basilashvili. Both the players had been involved in a three hour battle a few days ago at Sydney and it was the former world number who again held on for a win. Murray totally outplayed Basilashvili in the opening set but in the second the 29 year old began his ball bashing technique to set up another marathon match. The Georgian even played a few deft dropshots which Murray had done earlier, the 3 time Grand Slam winner had his chances beaten to a pulp by Basilashvili in the fourth set. Murray defeated Basilashvili 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(5-7), 6-4.
When two servers meet, there is not much movement on the court but there are a lot of first serves which take up all the heat. It was an all American meeting between John Isner and Maxime Cressy as it was also their first career meeting. The 36 year old has not been able to win matches lately and the streak continued in the 1st round as Cressy had the extra boost in the final set. The match saw 70 aces by the players and 20 double faults by the 24 year old who also won two service games more than the 6 foot 11 inch player. Cressy defeated Isner 7-6(7-2), 7-5, 6-7(4-7), 6-7(4-7), 6-4.
In another court there was a similar French battle and it was the senior this time who took the next gen in the 1st round. Richard Gasquet waved his magic backhand for his first victory at the event in four years and will face another next gen player Botic van de Zandschulp in the second round. Gasquet defeated Ugo Humbert 3-6, 7-6(7-4), 7-6(7-3), 6-3.
In women’s singles, Kaia Kanepi could not have imagined her match in any other way as she beat Kerber in 70 minutes. The 2016 champion was never strong enough against Kanepi who played from the baseline and never did rush a point to enter the second round. Kanepi defeated Kerber 6-4, 6-3.
It was the end of the road for another Grand Slam winner as Petra Kvitova was hit by Romanian storms. Sorana Cirstea had to pull out tough shots in the beginning of both sets but after that it was a smooth run against Kvitova. Cirstea reached the fourth round in 2017 and has not won more than 2 matches since then. Cirstea defeated Kvitova 6-2, 6-2
The next gen in the women’s field did not have as much luck as their male counterparts. Leylah Fernandez joined other top seeds in making an early exit of the season opener. Fernandez lost three breakpoints as she lost the first set in a close encounter in which both the players had long rallies but in the second set, Maddison Inglis took the first four games to open a huge lead in the match and over her opponent’s mind. From there it was game over for the 2021 US Open runner up who lifted her hands in disappointment after losing the match. Inglis defeated Fernandez 6-4, 6-2.
Norrie, Gauff and Fognini fall in opening day of Australian Open
(Tennis news) Day 1 of the 2022 Australian Open saw quite a few seeded players making their exit. The highest seeded player to fall was Cameron Norrie, the 12th seed had it tough against Next Gen player Sebastian Korda while 18th seed Cori Gauff was knocked out by Wang Qiang.
Cameron Norrie was nowhere near his best as he lost the first two sets in an hour and failed to take a single game in the second set. Korda kept hitting winners as Norrie’s court movement was also hampered, there was no ray of light for the British number one as the youngster did not shy away from taking chances in almost all the rallies. Korda kept coming forward to finish the points and only had some issues in the third set where Norrie put in some volleys which delayed the result of the match. Korda defeated Norrie 6-3, 6-0, 6-4.
“It wasn't easy. I didn't get a lot of preparation, didn't get any matches under my belt,” Korda said in his post-match press conference after he was forced to withdraw from the Adelaide International 1 in the first week of the season due to testing positive for Covid-19. “But I am just super happy with the way I came out. I stuck with my tactics. They worked really well and I am really comfortable on these courts.”
Fabio Fognini failed to find his touch against Tallon Griekspoor in the opening round. Griekspoor did see some half hearted winners from Fognini who could not hit most of the balls on the other side of the court. Griekspoor entered the main draw at Melbourne for the second time in his career and it was his second victory at Grand Slams. The 25 year old will next face Pablo Carreno Busta as it will be tough against the Spaniard who has been in form this year. Griekspoor defeated Fognini 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
Feliciano Lopez played a record 79th consecutive Grand Slam at Melbourne, the 40 year old lost to John Millman in the 1st round. Millman was quick to find space around the net as Lopez is one of the last players to fully rely on the classic serve and volley. Millman moved well around the court while finding the lines even with his backhand and had sublime control when hitting winners from the net. Millman defeated Lopez 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
Cori Gauff made her first early exit at a Grand Slam in two years when she was shocked by Wang Qiang in straight sets. Wang secured her first victory in over 6 months as she took advantage of an error-stricken game by the teenager. Gauff had 38 unforced errors which mostly contributed to the former world number 12 taking 6 consecutive games from the end of the first to the second. Even though it looked like the American could have staged a comeback when saving a few match points but it was not happening this time. Wang defeated Gauff 6-4, 6-2.
Sofia Kenin also had her luck give up on her as she was up against Madison Keys in the first round. Sofia had won the title at Melbourne two years ago but it was all over right on the first day for the former champion. Keys was too powerful around the court as no amount of sprints could cover certain groundstrokes she unleashed. The 12th seed has been struggling with a foot injury and coming back on tour after being infected with Covid. Keys defeated Kenin 7-6 (7-2), 7-5.
Paula Baodsa captures third career title at Sydney
(Tennis news) Paula Badosa set her priorities for the big ones in Australia when she won the Sydney Tennis Classic beating Barbora Krejcikova in the final. Krejcikova had played the match of her life against Anett Kontaveit in the semifinal but could not draw much inspiration for the championship match. Badosa on the other hand had a much straightforward semifinal against Daria Kasatkina.
Badosa had tough opponents on her way to the final as she faced Jelena Ostapenko in the opening match, Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinals and also played one match more than Krejcikova. All of the opponents of the 2021 Indian Wells champion faced were in the top 50 while Krejcikova’s real test came in the semifinal against Kontaveit which took 2 and half hours.
The world number 9 had a 2-0 head to head record against Krejcikova, both the victories coming last year. The Spaniard started well by taking the first two games and broke serve thrice to win the first set comfortably. In the second set, the world number 4 took the first two games and the rallies were getting shorter as she found her target in no time while Badosa had no chances to take.
In the deciding set, the momentum kept shifting each game as both players broke serve once but could get a lead at point of the set. In the tiebreak, it was Badosa who took the lead with her defensive shield proving to be a tough one to break. She was leading 5-2 and Krejcikova tried to repeat the semifinal drama but could not get much time, Badosa lost the next two points but won the next point to get herself a championship point. With a strong backhand down the line, the 24 year old made it 3 out of 3 in WTA finals as well as a third victory over the 2021 Roland Garros champion.
"Of course winning the title gives me a lot of confidence, especially with the level I have played this week," Badosa said. "Of course I am tired. I play Monday. I will have to fly tonight, so let's see how I recover. But I will try to give my best there. I'm playing at a high level. Let's see. I'm looking forward to it."
Both players have a chance to play again at the Australian Open quarterfinals, the 26 year old would want to add more majors after her victory in Paris last year. While Badosa is still looking for a first Grand Slam title win and the victory at Sydney is certainly going to pump her up when she plays at Melbourne.
Karatsev and Kokkinakis start 2022 season with title wins in Australia
(Tennis news) Thanasi Kokkinakis made a dream comeback by winning the Adelaide International 2, he beat Arthur Rinderknech in the final. This was the first title for Kokkinakis and second final after Los Cabos in 2017. The Australian had saved multiple match points against Marin Cilic in the semifinal and even in the final he had to burn all his energy to take the trophy.
Both players were serving strong in the first set as Kokkinakis was the first one to get a chance in tie break 6-5 but couldn't finalize the deal. After saving a set point, Rinderknech won the set due to an unforced error by the wildcard entry. The second set saw the service defense going strong and the tiebreak saw Rinderknech win the first two points until Kokkinakis won a hat trick of points. It was level at this point, the 25 year old made it 6-3 as he had 3 set points to level the score but the frenchmen saved two points which didn’t put load on his opponent. With a strong first serve, the scores were leveled.
In the deciding set, the world number 48 serve was broken in the opening game as the crowd was fully behind the home favorite. The world no 103 did not let his serve get broken as he continued to dominate the service games and then broke Rinderknech for the second time to take the title at Adelaide.
"I wouldn't want to win my first title anywhere else," said Kokkinakis, who out-aced his opponent 18 to 15. "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’ve been playing and practicing on this court since I was eight or nine years old, coming here before school every day. I love this court so much.”
Aslan Karatsev replayed his 2021 Australia form this year when he beat Andy Murray for the Sydney Tennis Classic title. Karatsev only needed an hour and half in the final to win his third career title. The Russian never looked out of shape in the event as the groundstrokes were hard to reciprocate and even Murray was not able to match up to Karatsev aggressive stroking of the ball.
Karatsev had 4 breakpoints in the first set and won two of them to keep a lead over the former world number 1. Murray could not decode his opponent's serve as he failed to break him in the opening set and had 4 double faults to give the lead. In the second set, Murray had five breakpoint chances but could win one of them and conceded 2 out of three to again lose the chance to come back into the match.
In the 9th game of the second set, Murray was out of fuel as he couldn’t believe it when Karatsev hit a neat inside out forehand winner in a 19 shot rally. Karatsev and Murray will be heading into the Australian Open because of their performances in Sydney.
"It was an important moment to keep the level, keep the serve. I lost a bit of concentration on the first serve. Especially against him it's important to have a first serve, because on the second serve he steps in and can dictate the point more," Karatsev said. "It was a tough game. I tried to manage it, to stay calm, to stick to my plan."
Mirza-Kichenok to open against Zidansek-Juvan in Australian Open
Melbourne, Jan 16 (Tennis News) Veteran Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok have been seeded 12th in the women's doubles event of the Australian Open and have been pitted against Slovenia's strong singles players Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek.
Sania and Kichekon have entered the first Grand Slam of the season after reaching the semifinals of the first Adelaide WTA event and making a first round exit from the second.
Zidansek is ranked 29th in the world in the singles chart while Juvan is also a top-100 player at number 89.
In the men's doubles, 41-year-old Rohan Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin have been placed in the bottom half of the draw where they will play against wild card pair of Indonesia's Christopher Rungkat and Philippines' Treat Huey in their first round match.
The mixed doubles draw has not been made as yet and it is highly unlikely that Bopanna and Mirza would enter together since their combined ranking won't be enough to enter the event as a team.
No Indian player could make the singles main draw with Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ankita Rain falling in the qualifiers.
Also Read : Tie break thrillers continue to take the spotlight in Australia
News Source : PTI
Australian Open 2022: Medvedev and Sabalenka leading the next gen attack
(Tennis news) After more than 120 days since the last Grand Slam, the 2022 season is ready for the Australian Open to take place at Melbourne. At the beginning of every year, there are new expectations from the next gen to take over the older generation and there are few players who will look to take over the trophy from the seniors.
Daniil Medvedev had beaten Novak Djokovic at the 2021 US Open final and Djokovic had beaten Medvedev in the final of Australia at the start of the year. This year, the Serbian is currently playing against the Australian government as he needs a victory to compete in the main draw. Meanwhile the Russian will be keen to add a second major to his pocket but will be facing a challenge from the rest of the rising stars. Alexander Zverev has not won a major title yet, he has won everything else including the Olympic gold and can join Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal in winning all the major titles in the sport.
Nadal won the Melbourne Summer Set which was his first title at Australia in 13 years, his first title was the 2009 Australian Open. The Spaniard was beaten by Stefanos Tsistsipas in the quarterfinal last year and the Greek player will also be in line to get his first big title. Most of the next gen players have not played any matches so far, the players who have started with year in form would be Felix Auger Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov. The two Canadians have shown how much they grew as players and would be willing to do the same at Melbourne. Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner would also play till the final days of the event as they had a good run last year.
In the women’s singles, Ashleigh Barty will be aiming for a third Grand Slam overall and a first at home. While the Australian has her targets, Aryna Sabalenka can set a sight at a first major as well as the top ranking when she plays next week. Sabalenka reached the semifinals of the last two Grand Slams, the 23 year old can steal the thunder from Barty and it would be daring to do it in front of the home crowd. In the top 10 rankings, all the players are below 30 years and a few made their debuts in the single digit platform. Barbora Krejcikova took the Roland Garros by storm by winning the singles and doubles trophy; Krejcikova takes on Paula Badosa who is yet another debutant in the top 10 and certainly one of them to watch out.
Naomi Osaka will also make her return and if she is in form then there is no doubt about her taking home her 5th major. The Japanese player issued a walkover in the semifinal at Melbourne Summer Set a few days ago but is expected to play at the event. The Australian Open is set to start from January 17 and the audience would want to wear their seat belts as its going to be a bumpy start to the year.
Novak Djokovic has long divided opinion. Now, his legacy will be complicated even further
Melbourne, Jan 15 (Tennis News) After a convoluted and shambolic visa approval process, followed by questions about his movements over the past month and the information provided to Australian border officials, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa.
The decision is a major blow to Djokovic, who is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 Grand Slam singles titles, the most ever by a male player. While his lawyers will attempt to challenge the latest visa cancellation, Djokovic is unlikely to chase history at his most successful Grand Slam tournament.
The decision is also a blow to the Australian Open. With Federer out with injury, Djokovic and Nadal were the prime draw cards in this year’s men’s tournament. If the top-ranked Serbian player and nine-time Australian Open champion is deported, some have feared serious repercussions for the longevity of the event.
Critics have gone so far as to theorise global tennis powerbrokers might look elsewhere to host the “grand slam of the Asia-Pacific”, so as: […] to be confident the tournament can proceed smoothly with strong levels of public and government support.
In that sense, the conservative MP and former professional tennis player John Alexander had urged allowing Djokovic to stay in the country, arguing: Retaining the Australian Open as a grand slam event […] is in our national interest.
While the Australian Open’s reputation certainly has taken a hit, its status as one of the four Grand Slam tournaments has plenty of support. The longer-term damage might be to Djokovic’s legacy.
Given the extraordinary backstory to his medical exemption from COVID vaccination to enter Australia – along with the many questions that have arisen about his COVID infection in December – public opinion about him has swayed back and forth on a daily basis.
Djokovic has long been a polarising figure in tennis. Despite his athleticism, endurance and mental toughness, he has sometimes been accused of gamesmanship, “exaggerating” injuries to allow for medical pauses when an opponent has the momentum.
Like other players, Djokovic has also exhibited unruly behaviour on court, with occasional racket smashes, as well as disqualification from the 2020 US Open after recklessly – albeit accidentally – smashing a ball into a line judge.
Compared with the much-loved Federer and Nadal, Djokovic has a narrower fan base. At the Australian Open, he’s always had the effervescent support of Melbourne’s large Serbian diaspora, with their patriotic singing and flag-waving. But the mood of the rest of the crowd this year would likely have been mixed, with some undoubtedly voicing their hostility.
Indeed, local tennis fans would have good reason to chafe at Djokovic’s medical exemption from immunisation given the stringent COVID protocols they must follow to attend the Australian Open.
The tournament requires fans to be double-vaccinated or provide evidence of a medical exemption. However, unlike Djokovic’s peculiar defence, prior COVID status does not absolve local residents from the need to be double-vaccinated, with “previous infection” no basis for an exemption.
Grand slammed? Further complicating Djokovic’s legacy is the question of whether he’ll now face visa difficulties at the other tennis majors. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant may alter the rules for unvaccinated players in different countries and tournaments.
As things stand, Djokovic appears to face no vaccine-related impediment to competing at the French Open in a few months. The French sports minister has said Djokovic “would be able to take part”, although unlike vaccinated players he would need to follow “health bubble” protocols.
French President Emmanuel Macron, however, has made headlines by declaring he wants to “piss off” the unvaccinated – in part by mandating a “health pass” for public venues, a requirement for which is to be vaccinated. Whether Macron insists on changes for competitors at Roland-Garros remains to be seen.
As far as Wimbledon is concerned, unvaccinated international arrivals to the United Kingdom are currently required to take repeat COVID tests over several days, plus quarantine for ten days at a residence of their choice.
Djokovic would, presumably, look to a rent a house with a lawn tennis court attached.
The US Open seems less certain. The unvaccinated are not permitted in specific indoor venues in New York without a medical exemption.
So, if one of Djokovic’s matches on the showcourts at the US Open was affected by rain and the roof needed to be closed, it is not clear what organisers would do. He might be forced to forfeit the match.
Given Djokovic has been less prone to injury than Federer or Nadal and is coming off one of his best years on tour, he is still likely to retire with the most men’s grand slam titles. If so, he can rightfully be feted as the greatest male tennis star of all time.
But how he will be remembered is a more complicated question. In one sense, Djokovic appears to revel in being depicted as the “arch-nemesis” of Federer and Nadal – it has fuelled his desire to surpass their grand slam title hauls.
Yet, for all his tennis greatness, Djokovic often attracts eye-rolling outside the court – not simply in relation to his views on vaccines, but the wider pseudo-scientific ruminations that underpin his public pronouncements.
As the Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has put it, Djokovic seems “a very strange cat”.
The drama from the past week will have an effect on the way others view him, too. It will inflame his supporters, infuriate his detractors, and prompt even neutral observers to take a stand in respect to his entry to Australia. When it comes to Novak Djokovic, everyone will now surely have an opinion. (The Conversation) MRJ
Also Read : Krejcikova wins epic semi final against Kontaveit at Sydney.
News Sources : PTI
Travis Head's quickfire ton rescues Aussie innings after minor collapse on day 1
(Cricket news) England and Australia started the 4th and last Test of the Ashes tour at the Blundstone Arena. England captain Joe Root won the toss and put the Aussies into bat. England made four changes as Rory Burns, Ollie Pope, Sam Billings and Ollie Robinson came in for Haseeb Hameed, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Jack Leech. Australia on the other hand replaced Marcus Harris with Travis Head.
The new Australian opening pair had a wobbly start as England bowlers were on fire. Ollie Robinson came through and got rid of David Warner in the 6th over for a duck which was Warner's first in a home Ashes series. Robinson then produced an edge off Marnus Labuschagne but the catch was dropped in the slips. Stuart Broad who had been bowling well finally got his reward as he dismissed Usman Khawaja on 6. Steve Smith was dismissed for a duck on his second ball by Robinson leaving Australia 3 down for just 12. Labuschagne and Travis Head began to counter attack and put runs on the board in quick succession. The pair played some very aggressive strokes including aerial ones which wasn't ideal given the situation but paid off.
Labuschagne was dismissed by Broad on 44 in bizarre fashion after he failed to judge the ball and left his stumps exposed, falling on the floor in the process. Travis Head scored his 2nd hundred of the series in just 113 balls hitting 12 boundaries in the process. After completing his ton he was dismissed off the very next ball after chipping Mark Wood's ball straight to Robinson. Cameron Green to very well made 74 consisting of 8 fours before getting out to Mark Wood. After 59.3 overs rain decided to spoil the party as stumps were called with Australia on 241/6.
Monfils retires at Adelaide International 2, Rinderknech upsets Khachanov
(Tennis news) Gael Monfils injured his neck in the quarterfinal match against Thiago Monteiro, Monfils retired in the beginning of the third set. The Frenchmen had won the title at Adelaide International 1 but his title chase came to an unfortunate end as Monteiro reached the quarterfinals.
Monfils was in form with his defensive skills forming a major part of the match and it even inspired Monteiro who came up with his own skills to give the crowd so much entertainment from two sets. Monteiro’s backhand was looking steady and improved court coverage as the match went on. Monfils' forehand looked stable and his backhand was a bit off in the second set but his legs were working perfectly. His injury caused a major let down before the Australian Open as there is 4 days left, ther world number 19 is expected to recover just in time for the Grand Slam. Monteiro defeated Monfils 6-7(2-7), 6-3, 1-0 retired.
It was not at all bad news for France as Arthur Rinderknech delivered a shock defeat to Karen Khachanov. Rinderknech only had two break points in the match and it proved to be the most vital breakthrough in the match, the Russian had five of them in which he only won one. The 26 year old took advantage of Khachanov’s total dependence to stay in the baseline and took 16 points at the net. Khachanov’s forehand could not bring in the thunder as his athleticism is not the strongest trait. Rinderknech defeated Khachanov 7-6(9-7), 7-5.
Marin Cilic played well by mixing his usual aggression and net play to defeat Tommy Paul in three sets. Cilic set the tune by taking the first set but was forced for the decider as Paul did everything he could in the second set. Paul was serving like a precision machine and hit winners while minimising unforced errors as he took the set while giving away 2 games. In the decider, Cilic came at the net to finish the points quickly as he came 6 times and won each time. Cilic defeated Paul 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
Cilic will face the winner between Aleksandar Vukic or Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis for a place in the final as the Croatian is the senior most player left in the draw. Rinderknech will face Corentin Moutet or Monteiro for a place in the final. Although Cilic now seems to be the favourite to win his 21st title, the rising stars have taken out some heavy hitters and can do more at Adelaide International 2.
Andy Murray lights up Sydney, Karatsev enters last semifinals
(Tennis news) Andy Murray’s form in Sydney looked like had come into contact with a time machine as he had the same look in the eye which was last seen 5 years ago. The former world number one has been playing great in the 2022 season. In the fourth round of the Sydney Tennis Classic, the 34 year old faced Nikoloz Basilashvili who attacked the ball on every occasion from all corners of the court.
Basilashvili is known to play aggressive and his average groundstrokes are timed around 70mph which Murray dealt quite well and kept slowing down the pace of the rally. The match went on for 3 hours as the world number 23 hit the ball well but Murray got to the ball and even had the time to position himself accordingly and place the shots. The delicate touches were his answers to Basilashvili’s unbelievable lightning hitting. Murray defeated Basilashvili 6-7(4-7), 7-6(3), 6-3.
“I got a lot of free points on my serve,” Murray said. “When we were in the rallies, it was more on his terms, so I tried to serve a little bit bigger and thankfully they went in. When he was serving, I tried to take time away from him and rush him and I hit some better returns.”
Daniel Evans continued his unbeaten run to the season by beating Pedro Martinez at Sydney. Evans has been on a 4 match winning streak starting from the ATP Cup and is so far on top at Australia. The British player did not give room for unforced errors as Martinez tried getting back at his backhand slice but could not do much. The Spaniard also could not bring in change by coming to the net as Evans outperformed him there too. Evans defeated Martinez 6-2, 6-3.
Last year’s Australian Open semifinalist, Aslan Karatsev used up all his energy on his way to beating Lorenzo Sonego in the quarterfinal match. The Russian needed 3 hours to knock out the rising star as the scores looked straight and square. Karatsev charged up the front of the court as his forehand put Sonego at a disadvantage but the 26 year old also played well under pressure. The Italian saved 20 of 25 breakpoints and even though he did not have as many breakpoints, it was enough to take the match till the deciding set. Karatsev defeated Sonego 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.
Yuki goes down in Australian Open qualifiers, no Indian in singles main draw
Melbourne, Jan 13 (Tennis News) Indian tennis player Yuki Bhambri suffered a straight sets defeat to Czech Republic's Tomas Machac in the Australian Open qualifiers here on Thursday, meaning the year's first Grand Slam will have no Indian participation in the singles main draw.
Bhambri lost his second round qualifying match 1-6 3-6.
Machac has a career high ATP singles ranking of 131 achieved on November 8 2021. He also has a career high doubles ranking of 470 achieved on November 1 2021.
On Tuesday, comeback man Bhambri had impressed with his attacking net play in a straight sets win but Ramkumar Ramanathan's 23rd attempt at cracking the singles main draw of a grand slam had ended in a first round defeat at the Australian Open qualifiers.
In the women's singles, Ankita Raina, ranked 203, was blown away by 120th ranked Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-0 in just 50 minutes.
Also Read : Emma Raducanu falls in opening match at Sydney Tennis Classic
News Source : PTI
Prajnesh exits Australian Open Qualifiers after second round defeat
Melbourne, Jan 12 (Tennis News) Prajnesh Gunneswaran lost rhythm and energy before staging a mini comeback but eventually bowed out of the Australian Open Qualifiers with a second-round defeat against Germany's Maximilian Marterer, here on Wednesday. Up against a rival, who served big and packed a lot of power in his strokes but placed seven places below him at 228, Prajnesh lost 2-6 6-7(8) in one hour and 26 minutes.
With Prajnesh losing the battle of the left-handers, Yuki Bhambri is now ꪪthe only Indian surviving in the Qualifiers. Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina have already exited the competition.
Down 2-6 2-4, Prajnesh managed to stretch it to a tie-breaker but squandered many a set point to lose the match.
Prajnesh handed the German two break chances in the fourth game of the match when he made a volley error after setting up the point and followed that up with wide forehand. The Indian saved the first chance with a big serve while Marterer's backhand slice landed just outside the baseline on the second.
An engrossing rally, that put Prajnesh's backhand to test against the German's forehand, ensued in the sixth game.
A smart backhand slice by Marterer, after no less than a 20-shot exchange ended the rally as Prajnesh hit the pick-up out, looking for a cross court forehand winner.
Prajnesh's strokes began to lose power and precision after losing that energy-sapping rally and the German began to dictate terms. Marterer hit a forehand winner to earn two break chances and converted the second for a 4-2 lead when Prajnesh made a forehand error.
The German came out serving big in the next game to consolidate his lead but Prajnesh seemed to have lost energy as unforced errors flew from his racquet as he surrendered the opening set.
Early in the second set, Prajnesh went from 40-0 to deuce and was down a breakpoint when he sent another shot long.
Marterer could not covert that but created one more chance when he had Parjnesh scurried to the net from the baseline to miss the ball. Already a break-up, Marterer held his own for a 4-1 lead.
A glimmer of hope came when the German allowed Prajnesh an opening by dropping his serve in the seventh game as it was back on serve.
Yuki Bhambri has a task cut out as he faces world number 130 Tomas Machac from Czech Republic. Yuki is ranked outside top-1000 and has entered the event, using his Protected Ranking (127).
Also Read : Andy Murray records first victory of the season at the Sydney Tennis Classic
News Source : PTI
Last week's performers, Bopanna and Sania bite dust in Adelaide-2 event
Adelaide, Jan 11 (Tennis News) Veteran Indian tennis players Sania Mirza and Rohan Boapnna, who enjoyed good runs on the Pro circuit last week, bowed out of the second Adelaide ATP and WTA events after first round defeats with their respective partners, here on Tuesday.
Sania and Ukrainian Nadiia Kichenok, the second seeds, lost the opening round of the WTA 250 event 3-6 3-6 to Czech pair of Tereza Martincova and Marketa Vondrousova in 61 minutes.
They had reached the semifinals last week.
At the men's event, Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin lost their first round 4-6 6-3 3-10 in 69 minutes to Americans Steve Johnson and Austin Krajicek, who served extremely well and handled returns smartly.
Bopanna had won the men's doubles with compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Bopanna made too many errors in the Super Tie-Breaker, in which they fell behind 1-6 from where it was extremely tough to make a comeback.
Both Bopanna and Sania will now play at the season's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.
Also Read : Goffin and Fognini celebrate comeback with victories at Sydney
News Source : PTI
Goffin and Fognini celebrate comeback with victories at Sydney
(Tennis news) The Sydney Tennis Classic along with the Adelaide International 2 will be the final tournaments before the 2022 Australian Open. Both the events started on 10th January and the finals will be held 5 days later as players get to play for one last time before the opening Grand Slam.
David Goffin brushed off his 6 match losing streak which started in May with a win over Facundo Bagnis in the first round at Sydney Tennis Classic. The Belgian moved well around the court for somebody who had been affected with knee injury last season, Goffin’s court coverage helped him to win the longer rallies. It was a contest of the baseliners and the 8th seed did not look out of control at any point of the match as the Argentine had a few forehand winners which were classy but could not construct points like Goffin. Goffin defeated Bagnis 6-4, 6-4.
Fabio Fognini recorded his first victory in over three months when he played against Daniel Altmaier in the first round. The Italian started hitting winners in the first 60 seconds of the match, Altmaier’s one handed backhand did wow the crowds at times and it looked a bit similar to that of former player Sam Groth. Altmaier was consistently serving well and had 9 aces but could not execute final touches especially at the net where he lost all 7 points.
Fognini was completely controlling the groundstrokes from the baseline and had issues with the youngster’s backhand which on a few occasions completely stumped the Italian. The 23 year old did seem to take control in the second set but his net play caused him to lose the lead as Fognini got his 387th career win on tour. Fognini defeated Altmaier 6-3, 7-5.
Wildcard Jordan Thompson tried his luck at Sydney after exiting early at Adelaide and it worked. Thompson was seen sporting long hair and a moustache which seemed perfectly apt at home. He took some time to settle in the court against Marcos Giron and got his first break after 20 minutes with a backhand winner that made sure it had contact with the line. Giron kept the Australian busy at the baseline as he made sure not to hurry through the points as Thompson took the chances. The first set ended when Giron finally hit a forehand wide and in the second set there was no change from Giron.
Thompson began playing more aggressively as he opened up a 4-2 lead and even kept changing his tactics. He often played the long rallies with Giron but with a slice followed up with a heavy groundstroke ensured that Giron remained clueless at the net. The world number 73 will see how far his luck goes as he will face Reily Opelka in the next round. Thompson defeated Giron 6-4, 6-2.
Sofia exits early at Sydney Tennis Classic, Kvitova wins marathon match
(Tennis news) The first day of Sydney Tennis Classic WTA 500 was like a transverse wave as the singles matches did not have a single sporting element missing. The tour in January is packed with events at Adelaide and Sydney as players get busy at the start of the season. The 2022 Australian Open will be starting in 6 days as players have already soaked in the heat at the ongoing events.
Sofia Kenin was the highest ranked player to make an exit on the first day of the Sydney Tennis Classic. The American was up against Daria Kasatkina who had reached the semifinals at Adelaide two days ago. The world number 12 looked a bit off in the middle of the first set as she could not convert two breakpoints at 3-2 and then lost three successive games to give the Russian the lead.
After winning the first set, Kasatkina made a huge leap ahead by bageling Kenin as she knocked out the 8th seed in an hour. Kasatkina saved all the 7 breakpoints in the match and converted four out five to give herself a confidence boost ahead of the season opening Grand Slam. Kasatkina defeated Kenin 6-4, 6-0.
Anett Kontaveit made sure she reminded the Melbourne audience how she ended last season with a straight set win over Zhang Shuai. Kontaveit began her first match of the season with a full stretched backhand and forehand shot in the opening rally. The world number 7 had her first serves come out hot as Zhang only won 4 points out of 35 as Kontaveit kept her aggressiveness full on for the match.
Kontaveit was pouncing on Zhang’s second serve as a single breakpoint was enough for the Estonian to take the set. In the second set, things turned even worse for the 32 year old as she could only win one point out of 16 first serves and lost nine of her 12 second serves. Kontaveit took more risks and it gave her 4 breakpoints in which she lost two but was enough to progress to the next round. Kontaveit defeated Zhang 6-3, 6-3.
Petra Kvitova had a devastating start to the season when she was beaten in the opening round at Adelaide. Kvitova was on her way to another early exit against Arantxa Rus and saved two match points in a match that lasted for three hours. The two left handers hit a total of 16 double faults of which 8 came in the second and Kvitova accounted for 5 of them.
Rus was completely ahead of Kvitova in the first set as it looked like the Dutch player was in full control. In the second set, Kvitova was the one on top of the waves as she had a 4-2 lead until the storm shook her out of the game and it was 4 all. Kvitova who was 7 months older to her opponent used her forehand to unarm Rus and took the match to the decider. In the final set, Rus had two match points at 5-4 but could not get that one point as Kvitova got three consecutive games to end the ordeal. Kvitova defeated Rus 3-6, 7-6(7-4), 7-5.
Yuki Bhambri returns to big stage in style, moves to 2nd round of Aussie Open Qualifiers
Melbourne, Jan 11 (Tennis News) Comeback-man Yuki Bhambri impressed with his match sharpness and attacking net play as the Indian progressed to the second round of Australian Open qualifiers with a comfortable straight set win over Joao Domingues, here on Tuesday.
Bhambri, who returned to the Grand Slam stage after 2018 US Open due to knee injury, beat his 248th ranked Portuguese rival 6-4 6-2 in just 68 minutes.
The 29-year-old Indian's serve looked decent and he played smartly as he charged the net to keep the points short.
He struggled to rein in his unforced errors in the beginning but earned his first breakpoint in the third game with a forehand winner after a long rally. Domigues served a double fault to hand the Indian first break of the match.
Bhambri served the next game at love with an ace to open up a 3-1 lead as Domingues also tried to charge to the net but Bhambri's powerful strokes pushed him back.
Bhambri fought off two break points on his serve in the sixth game. At deuce he pulled off a perfectly placed backhand slice and then dispatched up a half-volley for a 4-2 lead.
After getting one more break on account of his rival's unforced errors, Bhambri came out serving for the set but dropped the serve when his miscued overhead smash went out.
He wasn't in the position to play that shot but went for it, anticipating that lob would land in, behind him near the alley.
The Indian claimed the set when he served again.
In the second set too, it was Bhambri who got the first break as he led 4-2. He then served out the match without any fuss.
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina will also play their first rounds later in the day.
Also Read : Safiullin, Evans among the best players from the 2022 ATP Cup
News Source : PTI
Novak Djokovic’s path to legal vindication was long and convoluted. It may also be fleeting
Melbourne, Jan 11 (Tennis News) Novak Djokovic is – at least for now – free to defend his title at the Australian Open after Judge Anthony Kelly of the Federal Circuit and Family Court quashed the cancellation of his visa following an agreement between the tennis star’s lawyers and the government.
After a confusing day-long hearing involving dense legal arguments, Djokovic was ordered to be released from immigration detention on procedural grounds – the judge said he hadn’t been given enough time to contest the original cancellation of his visa last Thursday morning.
But this left unresolved the bigger question of whether Djokovic was entitled to rely upon a medical exemption from Tennis Australia to enter the country and compete in the tournament without being vaccinated against COVID-19.
It is entirely possible Djokovic’s success in these proceedings is a hollow victory, with the government’s lawyer flagging Immigration Minister Alex Hawke will now consider whether to exercise his personal power to cancel the tennis star’s visa for a second time.
Grounds to challenge the visa cancellation The saga surrounding the nine-time Australian Open champion has gripped the sporting world since Djokovic was detained upon arriving in Melbourne last week due to questions about his medical exemption from vaccination to play in the tournament starting on January 17.
Djokovic was moved to immigration detention in Melbourne’s notorious Park Hotel following the cancellation of his visa. His lawyers then lodged an application to challenge that cancellation through judicial review proceedings.
The process of judicial review allows a judge to examine the lawfulness of government decision-making. It is a limited process, not concerned with whether a right, preferable or fair decision has been made, but only whether the decision followed the proper legal processes and requirements.
Before the hearing began today, Djokovic’s lawyers had put forth eight distinct grounds for why, in their submission, the decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa was not lawful.
These included some technical issues, such as a contention the notice given to Djokovic to cancel his visa was invalid and the decision was based on nonexistent grounds under the Migration Act.
Similarly, his lawyers argued the process was unfair as Djokovic was “pressured” to agree to a decision on his visa without first consulting his lawyers.
The bigger question around a medical exemption The substance of Djokovic’s challenge, however, revolved around his assertion that by testing positive to COVID-19 on December 16, he was exempt from any requirement to be vaccinated for six months.
His lawyers based this argument on guidelines set by ATAGI, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, which said: COVID-19 vaccination in people who have had PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection can be deferred for a maximum of six months after the acute illness, as a temporary exemption due to acute major medical illness.
In response, the government argued this approach was an inaccurate reading of the guidelines, saying that mere previous infection would not be enough to allow an unvaccinated person entry into Australia. In essence, the guidance provides for a deferment of vaccination, not a reason to avoid it altogether.
Moreover, the Commonwealth argued Djokovic’s reliance on the Tennis Australia exemption letter was misguided, and ultimately he did not provide sufficient information to justify entry without vaccination.
The medical exemption from Tennis Australia was a matter of significant disagreement between the parties. In the hearing, Kelly seemed to show some deference to Djokovic’s argument, saying: Here, a professor and an eminently qualified physician have produced and provided to the applicant a medical exemption. Further to that, that medical exemption and the basis on which it was given was separately given by a further independent expert specialist panel established by the Victorian state government […] The point I am agitated about is, what more could this man have done? The Commonwealth argued that irrespective of what Tennis Australia or the Victorian government may have decided, it is the federal government’s decision whether a visa ought be cancelled on public health grounds.
And this highlights the significant powers of the federal government in immigration matters, and that ultimately, according to the government’s court filings, there is “no such thing as an assurance of entry by a non-citizen into Australia”.
What could happen next Both sides agreed late in the day Djokovic hadn’t been given enough time to respond to the notification to cancel his visa. He was informed by border officials he would have until 8:30am on Thursday to respond, but his visa was cancelled at 7:42am. On this basis, Kelly ordered Djokovic to be released.
But the government’s lawyer immediately foreshadowed Hawke would consider using his personal power to cancel Djokovic’s visa again.
If such a decision is made, we should expect further litigation. Kelly said he expected to be “fully informed in advance” if he is required for future proceedings, ominously observing “the stakes have risen rather than receded”.
Kelly also noted Djokovic could be barred from re-entering Australia for three years if the personal power of the minister was used, though reports suggested this exclusion period could be waived.
For now, Djokovic is a free man. But it remains to be seen whether he will be spending the next few days on a tennis court or back in a federal court.
Also Read : Ashleigh Barty secures two podium finishes at Adelaide International 1
News Source : PTI
Ashleigh Barty secures two podium finishes at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty started the 2022 season with the singles and doubles title at Adelaide International 1. The world number 1 was playing after a gap of three months, she last played at US Open in September. At Adelaide, Barty only dropped a single set against Cori Gauff in the third round and was the only match in which she played for more than 90 minutes.
Barty was expected to win the final when she faced Elena Rybakina who beat Barty’s doubles partner Storm Sanders in the third round. Rybakina had beaten Shelby Rogers in the quarterfinal and looked in good form on her way to the championship match. Both players started well in the match as the Australian made her opponent cover a lot of ground in most of the rallies which Rybakina covered. In the 7th game, Barty broke Rybakina’s serve and then secured the first set.
In the second set, Barty took the first four games as Rybakina could not hold her serve even though she had 6 aces. The 22 year old only lost one point on her first serve in the set but only had 8 of them and lost 11 points out of 17 on her second serve. Barty was consistent on both her serves in the first and second set. She could not do much when Rybakina’s first serve was in but her returns in the second serve cleared the air. Barty defeated Rybakina 6-3, 6-2.
"I feel good leading up to an Australian Open like I have every year," Barty said. "Each and every preparation is unique, each and every preparation is different. So we take it for what comes and what it is, move on, try and do the best that we can in every opportunity, whether that's here in Adelaide or it's in Melbourne.
"It has absolutely no effect on the way that I prepare or the way I'm thinking leading forward just because it's a Grand Slam. Doesn't change for us. We look forward, we do what we can, then we see how we go."
In the doubles final, Barty and Sanders beat Andreja Klepac and Darija Jurak Schreiber in straight sets. Barty and Sanders last played as a pair in the Tokyo Olympics where they lost in the quarterfinal, it was also Barty’s 200th doubles win and is two wins away to make it 300th win in singles. The Aussie pair defeated Andreja and Darija 6-1, 6-4.
Canada gets the perfect start to 2022 season with ATP Cup victory
(Tennis news) The 2022 season started off perfectly for team Canada with a first ATP Cup title. Canada were not the favourites in the final as they were facing Spain, a team which had reached the finals in the first edition and semifinals last year. The event has now seen three different winners in the last three editions as Spain has been the runner up twice.
The singles matches had all the four players ranked in the top 21 as Spain was against the youngest singles pair in the event. The first singles match was between Denis Shapovalov and Pablo Carreno Busta, the Spaniard had won his last four singles matches in straight sets at the event. Pablo had also won the last three matches in their head to head meetings as Shapovalov’s only victory came in 2019. The Canadian had withdrawn in his first singles match against USA due to fatigue, in the next match he lost against Britain’s Daniel Evans but went on to win the next two matches.
The first game of the final took 14 minutes as Shapovalov saved multiple breakpoints to hold his serve. Pablo had several chances to break the 22 year old’s serve but the next gen player did whatever he could to hold his serve and finished most of the points at the net. It was not until the 10th game that Shapovalov got the first break as he took the set against an defensive Pablo in 54 minutes.
In the second set, it was team Canada again as the left handed player kept Spain in the back with his paradisiacal groundstrokes. In the next half an hour, Canada was halfway through the finish line as Shapovalov joined the crowds in celebration. The second match was between Roberto Bautista Agut and Felix Auger Aliassime as Spain needed their top player more than ever. Roberto had won his last four matches which included two top ten wins and a bagel in the first match. Felix had lost to Daniil Medvedev in the previous match as he was bageled in the second set, the 21 year old had also lost his first match to Taylor Fritz but defeated Alexander Zverev in his third match.
Felix was 12 years junior to Roberto yet he was the one who had a more vintage style than the Spaniard. Although both the players were finishing most of the points from the baseline, Felix came into the net 16 times and only lost four chances. Roberto only won 4 points out of 9 at the net as he was hesitant to leave from the baseline. Spain was in the lead as it won the first two games but the rising star came level in the next few games. The 33 year old had a major breakpoint at 4-3 on Felix’s serve but could not savor it as the match reached the tie break and there were no chances left as Canada was a set away from victory.
The second set saw Spain’s chance further deteriorate as the world number 9 was bringing his team closer to the Cup. Felix broke Roberto’s serve in the 8th game and four minutes later a chest bump celebration started off for team Canada with its first ATP Cup title.
Canada defeated Spain 2-0
Shapovalov defeated Pablo 6-4, 6-3, Felix defeated Roberto 7-6(7-3), 6-3
Also read: All eyes on Yuki, Ramkumar at Australian Open qualifiers
All eyes on Yuki, Ramkumar at Australian Open qualifiers
Melbourne, Jan 9 (Tennis News) India will keenly watch Yuki Bhambri's progress after his return to competitive tennis at the Australian Open Qualifiers while compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan will enter the competition after a confidence-boosting maiden title triumph on the ATP Tour.
Bhambri, 29, lost invaluable three years due to a troubling knee but in a few tournaments that he has played going into the fresh season, the talented Delhi player seems ready for the grind yet again.
The close fight he had had against Aljaz Bedene in March was a testimony that he is ready for top flight tennis but his return came to halt again due to the same knee issue.
He began again in November, competing on the Challenger and ITF circuit and won a doubles titles with Saketh Myneni in Gurugram.
In the tune-up event for the first Grand Slam, Yuki tied up with old partner Michael Venus but lost first round in Melbourne at the ATP event.
He has got a decent draw as he has been pitted against Portugal's Joao Domingues, ranked 248 and clearing first round should not be an issue for Yuki. A good show at Melbourne Park will set the tone for him in the 2022 season.
In 22 attempts so far, Ramkumar has not yet succeeded in cracking the singles main draw of a Grand Slam and it's time that he breaks the losing trend. He will be up against Italian Gian Moroni, ranked 197.
Ramkumar has enjoyed fantastic results going into Australian Open. He has just won his maiden ATP doubles title in Adelaide with compatriot Rohan Bopanna and also won his maiden singles Challenger title in Manama, Bahrain in November.
His booming serve, a big heart to fight and nicely developed serve-and-volley game is there, just that he needs to put everything together at the big stage.
"It's amazing feeling to win my first ATP Title With Bopsy (Bopanna). A great week ended on a high note, always lived for these moments. Thankful to almighty God for all his blessings,"Ramkumar told PTI.
"I'll surely keep it going and give my best as always. I learnt a lot of things from Bopsy and Scott Davidoff (Bopanna's coach) who was part of our team. We combined well and didn't lose even one service game all week." Another Indian in the qualifying is Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who will open his campaign against Colombian Daniel Galan, ranked almost 100 places above him at 120.
In the women's singles, Ankita Raina will clash with Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko, ranked 118.
Also Read : Bopanna and Ramkumar win Adelaide International with upset win over top seeds.
News Sources : PTI
Bopanna and Ramkumar win Adelaide International with upset win over top seeds
Melbourne, Jan 9 (Tennis News) Teaming up for the first-time on the ATP Tour, India's Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan won the Adelaide International doubles trophy with a hard-fought 7-6 (6) 6-1 win over top seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo here on Sunday.
Bopanna's excellent service returns at crucial times and Ramkumar's all-round game tilted the match in their favour.
In the one hour and 21 minutes contest, the Indians saved all the four break points they faced and broke their rivals twice.
It was Bopanna's 20th ATP doubles title and first for Ramkumar, who was playing only in his second summit clash at this level, having ended a runner-up at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in 2018.
"When Ramkumar is serving by your side, you can finish the point early, so that was an advantage," said Bopanna.
Asked how different it was playing with Ramkumar than another compatriot and left-handed Divij Sharan, Bopanan said, "With Divij, we had to create a point, ensure that first volley opportunity is taken while with Ram, the point can be finished early.
"I am surprised not many Indians entered this event. If anyone had landed here, would have entered the field since not many players were there." Bopanna and Ramkumar will split USD 18700 as prize money and earned 250 ranking points each.
The win would be a huge confidence booster for Ramkumar ahead of the Australian Open Qualifiers, where he will aim to make the singles main draw of a Grand Slam once again.
After saving an early breakpoint, Bopanna and Ramkumar upped their game. In the seventh game, when Melo served at 30-0, Bopanna's unreturnable service on the right of the Dodig and later a crushing forehand winner made it 30-all but the Brazilian eventually held.
Bopanna then saved another breakpoint and converted the deciding deuce point to make it 4-4.
Serving to stay afloat in the set at 5-6, the Indian pair was up 40-30 when Dodig created a winner on Bopanna's serve that whizzed past Ramkumar on his right but the big-serving Coorgi hit an ace to drag it to a tie-breaker.
At 6-6, Bopanna found a service return winner on Melo's serve to earn their second set point and converted with his booming serve.
It was one-way traffic in the second set with the Indians dominating all through.
Also Read : LSpain beats Poland to reach finals for second time of ATP Cup
News Sources : PTI
Barty knocks out defending champion at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) The two semifinals of the Adelaide International 1 saw the four players playing each other for the second time. In the first semifinal, Elena Rybakina was up against Misaki Doi as the Japanese player had never reached this stage and Elena was looking to enter the final of an event for the first time since 2020. Doi had defeated Rybakina in 2019 in the fourth round at Bastad in three sets.
Doi had a good start as she took the first two games in 10 minutes and 20 minutes later the scores were 4-4 as Rybakina refused to back down. Rybakina then broke her opponent in the very next game and served out the set with an ace, she only lost three points out of 11 second serves and had 5 aces. In the second set, Rybakina worked more on her first serve as she won 10 points out of 12 and Doi kept struggling with her serve.
Even though Doi again had a good start, especially with her forehand which was creating more chances in every point could not stop Rybakina after 2-2. In the next five games, Rybakina won four as Doi failed to keep up her starting momentum in both the sets. Rybakina defeated Doi 6-4, 6-3.
"I'm very happy to be in the final," Rybakina said, in her post-match press conference. "It's just the start of the season and I feel more confident, of course.
"The key was again the serve, I think. I served really well at the end of the first set and then the second set. She played fast also. I just started a bit slow, maybe like yesterday. I have to improve it today for sure."
Ashleigh Barty reached the final here for the second time when she defeated last year’s champion Iga Swiatek. Barty broke Swiatek’s serve in the 5th game of the match and did not lose the lead in fact did it again in the 7th game with a forehand down the line to make it 5-2. After losing the first set, Swiatek began to lose control on her serve as a double fault in the third game gave Barty the first break in the set. Swiatek could only win 5 points of her second serves as she lost 10 of them. Barty’s backhand slice was easily defending Swiatek’s groundstrokes and even pushed back to the baseline. Barty defeated 6-2, 6-4.
Barty will play the final against Rybakina and will play the 22 year old for the second time, they had previously played in the third round at the 2020 Australian Open where Barty defeated her in straight sets.
Barty and Stormy Sanders have also reached the final after they defeated Sania Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok in the semifinal. The pair were close to losing in the match but did not let Sania and Nadiia get the final few points. Barty and Sanders defeated Sania and Nadiia 6-1, 2-6, 10-8.
In the final Barty and Sanders will be up against Andreja Klepac and Darija Jurak Schreiber who got a walkover in the semifinal as they will now have enough rest for the final. Barty will be a bit exhausted with double duty but the world number singles player would want a trophy in both the finals.
Bopanna-Ramkumar pair cruise to final in Adelaide
Adelaide, Jan 8 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan upstaged fourth seeds Tomislav Brkic and Santiago Gonzalez in straight sets to reach the final of the Adelaide International, here on Saturday.
The unseeded Indian duo ousted the Bosnian-Mexican duo 6-2 6-4 in the doubles semifinals.
The Indians will now lock horns with top seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Brazilian Marcelo Melo in the summit clash of the of the ATP 250 event.
It will be an interesting match as the 41-year-old Bopanna and Dodig have often paired up together, the most recent being in the US Open in September when the duo was knocked out in the third round.
Bopanna and Ramkumar, who have paired up for the first time on the ATP tour, have enjoyed a good week so far.
The two have notched straight-set wins in the tournament barring the second round match against the American duo of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow when they were stretched to a super tie-breaker.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Russia prevail over Italy to reach semi finals of ATP Cup
News Source : PTI
Bopanna-Ramkumar enter semis with straight set win in Adelaide
Adelaide, Jan 7 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan registered a resounding straight-set win to cruise into the semifinals of the Adelaide International 1 ATP tournament here on Friday.
Bopanna and Ramkumar trounced the French-Monegasque duo of Benjamin Bonzi and Hugo Nys 6-1 6-3 in the doubles quarterfinals of the ATP 250 men's event.
The unseeded Indian pair will clash with the fourth seeded Bosnian-Mexican duo of Tomislav Brkić and Santiago Gonzalez for a spot in the final.
The two Indians are pairing up for the first time on the ATP tour.
Should Bopanna and Ramkumar continue their good show the two may pair up for India's Davis Cup tie against Denmark scheduled to be played in New Delhi in March.
Later in the day, India's Sania Mirza and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok will take on local favourites Ashleigh Barty and Storm Sanders in the semifinals of the Adelaide International 1 WTA 500 event.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Iga Swiatek continues stern title defence at Adelaide International 1
News Source : PTI
Sania-Nadiia pair enter semifinals of Adelaide International
Adelaide, Jan 6 (Tennis News) India's Sania Mirza and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok entered the women's doubles semifinals of the Adelaide International 1 WTA event after beating American Shelby Rogers and Heather Watson of Great Britain in a hard-fought contest here on Thursday.
Sania and Nadiia got the better of their rivals 6-0 1-6 10-5 in a quarterfinal tie that lasted 55 minutes.
The Indo-Ukranian duo will now face Australia combination of Ashleigh Barty and Storm Sanders in the last-four round of the WTA 500 event.
Sania and Nadiia had earlier knocked out second seeds Gabriella Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos 1-6 6-3 10-8 in the first round.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Novak Djokovic moved to quarantine hotel after being denied entry into Australia
News Source : PTI
Novak Djokovic moved to quarantine hotel after being denied entry into Australia
(Tennis news) Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has been moved to a quarantine hotel in Melbourne after being denied entry into the country when his visa was cancelled by border force officials at Melbourne airport. The 20 time Grand Slam winner was forced to stay at the airport overnight and was told he would be removed from the country later on Thursday. Djokovic’s injunction request against the visa cancellation was listed for hearing at 4pm (0500 GMT) in the Federal Circuit and Family Court.
In a televised media briefing, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “There are no special cases, rules are rules. We will continue to make the right decisions when it comes to securing Australian borders in relation to this pandemic. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.” On Wednesday, Prime Minister Morrison had reiterated that Djokovic would be “on the next plane home” if his evidence for a COVID-19 exemption proved to be unsatisfactory.
The saga has gained international and political interest with the Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic claiming harassment of its star player. Vucic said “I just finished a phone conversation with Novak Djokovic. I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him, and that our authorities are taking all measures to stop the harassment of the best tennis player in the world in the shortest possible period. In accordance with all norms of international public law, Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic, for justice and truth."
The 34 year old announced on Tuesday that he would be travelling to Australia on an "exemption permission" but was held in isolation upon arrival after attempting to enter the country on a visa that did not allow medical exemptions for those unvaccinated against COVID-19. An Australian Border Force statement read: "The ABF can confirm that Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled. Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia. The ABF can confirm Mr Djokovic had access to his phone."
Djokovic has won the Australian Open nine times, including the last three years. The 34 year old was hoping to surpass Roger Federar and Rafael Nadal by winning his 21st career Grand Slam title at the start of the tennis calendar but as things stand, the prospect looks unlikely.
World No. 18 Karatsev is the headline of the 4th Tata Open Maharashtra
(Tennis news) Defending champ Vesely and India’s Bhambri receive direct entry into single main draw for the Tata Open held in Pune. World number 18 Aslan Karatsev and defending champion Jiri Vesely will be eyeing the title alongside seven other Top-100 players as South Asia’s only ATP Tour tournament Tata Open Maharashtra gears up for a much-awaited comeback with an action-packed fourth edition, scheduled at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune from January 31 to February 6.
The Tata Open is one of Asia’s longest running tennis tournaments and will be in its 26th year, as they will return after a year’s break due to COVID-19 pandemic. The Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) will be hosting the prestigious tournament, which is sponsored by Tata Group, in association with the Government of Maharashtra.
The 28-year-old Russian Karatsev had a phenomenal 2021, he became the first-ever player to reach the semi-finals on Grand Slam debut in Australia, bagged two singles titles and his highlight of last year would be defeating tennis great Novak Djokovic, he also went to win the mixed-doubles silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Hailed as Russia’s “secret weapon” by teammate and World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev during their team’s 2021 ATP Cup triumph, Karatsev will be eager to carry forward a sensational run and make his mark on debut at Tata Open Maharashtra and by winning this prestigious tournament.
“We are thrilled to announce the return of this prestigious tournament. It has a rich legacy of having top players from across the world participating in it and the upcoming edition will be a testament of the same tradition. Despite the challenges and the pandemic, we are glad to see such a good response with players coming from the world over. We promise to bring yet another edition with a high-voltage action for the fans,” said Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director of Tata Open Maharashtra.
With a stiff cut off at 149, the country’s premier ATP 250 event will also witness some of the experienced names as well as promising young guns from the tennis world such as Australia’s John Millman, Portugal’s best tennis player of all time Joao Sousa and teenage sensation Lorenzo Musetti.
The 19-year-old Musetti made the headlines last year when he became the youngest player to break into the Top-100. In his short career so far, the young Italian star has impressed everyone with his consistent match-winning performances against the Top-10 players including Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori. India’s Yuki Bhambri will also kickstart his campaign in the main draw with a protected ranking. After recovering from an injury, Bhambri is currently preparing for the upcoming Australian Open.
Czech Republic star Jiri Vesely, who ended his 5-year long wait for a singles title in the last edition, will be presenting a strong challenge on his comeback into the city. Former Youth Olympics champion Kamil Majchrzak, Moldova’s first-ever ATP singles title winner Radu Albot and World No. 62 Gianluca Mager are the other notable names from the acceptance list.
The qualifying draws will take place on January 30 and 31.
“We had worked really hard to bring back this tournament. I would like to thank all the stakeholders for their continuous support, throughout. We are aware of the challenges ahead but we are ready to tackle them all, strategically. MSLTA have successfully conducted a few tournaments recently and I believe we can pull this off too. Safety of the players as well as others involved is of prime importance to us and, as organisers, we will not compromise on that. We will be strictly following the government’s Covid-19 guidelines to bring yet another successful edition,” MSLTA Secretary Sunder Iyer said.
Ramkumar-Bopanna enter quarterfinals in Adelaide
Adelaide, Jan 5 (Tennis News) India's Ramkumar Ramanathan and Rohan Bopanna entered the men's doubles quarterfinals of the Adelaide International 1 ATP tournament with a hard fought win over their rivals here on Wednesday.
In the ATP 250 men's event, the Indian combination of Ramkumar and veteran Bopanna, pairing up together for the first time on the ATP tour, had to dig deep to stun the eighth seed American duo of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow 6-7(4) 7-6(3) 10-4 in a super tie-breaker in the second round.
The Indians had earlier trounced American Jamie Cerretani and Brazilian Fernando Romboli 6-2 6-1 in the opening round on Tuesday.
They will face the winner of another pre-quarterfinal match between the French-Monegasque duo of Benjamin Bonzi and Hugo Nys and the Belgian combination of Sander Gille Joran Vliegen.
In the women's WTA 500 event here, India's Sania Mirza and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok overcame a first-set thrashing to knock out second seeds Gabriella Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos 1-6 6-3 10-8 on Tuesday.
They now await the winner of the match between Australian duo of Priscilla Hon and Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz and American-British pair of Shelby Rogers and Heather Watson in the women's doubles quarterfinals.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Novak Djokovic confirms participation in 2022 Australian Open
News Source : PTI
Novak Djokovic confirms participation in 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) After more than a month of suspense, Novak Djokovic has finally confirmed that he will be playing at the 2022 Australian Open. Djokovic’s status has been under the scanner over the past few weeks as many players were withdrawing from injury but in his case it was a complicated scenario. News broke out a few hours ago about the medical exemption he received to play at the Grand Slam.
The world number 1 two years ago had publicly stated that he wouldn’t want to be forced to take the vaccine inorder to travel. Although since the pandemic, people have been encouraged to take the vaccine as it is one’s wish to finally take the shot or not and it is a personal choice. The travelling restrictions are there globally and the vaccination has been acting like a pass which confirms that the individual is abiding by the rules set by the lawmakers.
The organisers have said that there is no special treatment the Serbian received as due process was followed inorder to confirm his participation. "Fair and independent protocols were established for assessing medical exemption applications that will enable us to ensure Australian Open 2022 is safe and enjoyable for everyone," Tournament director Craig Tiley said. "Central to this process was that the decisions were made by independent medical experts and that every applicant was given due consideration."
Djokovic had tested positive two years ago when he organised an exhibition event at Zadar, Croatia. For a person who has already been affected by the pandemic, it should be easier to understand as to why the orgainsers stressed upon the vaccination. Taking the shot is a personal choice until it involves the public, no person should be put in danger just because of a personal decision. When the individual can pose a risk to other players then his personal reservations are not justifiable.
There has been criticism regarding the decision, if Djokovic can talk about the exemption then the audience will be able to get a clearer picture. Australia has been struggling to control the pandemic especially in the present situation as they have crossed the 5 lakh mark. When a place is affected by a pandemic then a top tennis star who has been private about his vaccination status gets allowed to participate is obviously not a very welcoming decision. Again only if Djokovic can explain on what conditions did he receive an exemption then it will be confirmed but until then there will be an angry audience especially in Australia.
The 20 time Grand Slam winner will be aiming for his 10th Australian Open title and 21st overall. Things will unfold in the next few days as the event will start on 17th January and Djokovic will be expecting hostility from the crowd but he will play as he has his own targets to achieve.
Rafael Nadal set to make comeback at Melbourne Summer Set
(Tennis news) The first week of the ATP tour has three events happening at the same time as the fans see the top players in all the three. The ATP Cup started 4 days ago, Adelaide International started yesterday and the Melbourne Summer Set is set to start from today. Many players in the draw will be making their comeback after a few weeks gap as Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Benoit Paire and David Goffin will need some Australian support. There are also top ranked players who will be playing as it will help them for the opening Grand Slam of the year which is only 13 days away. Here are the top three players to watch out for in the event.
The Spaniard hasn’t had much success at Melbourne but is coming back after a couple of months. Nadal will be hungry to start the season strong and a title win will fuel his confidence for the 2022 Australian Open. The 20 time Grand Slam winner will play his first match against the winner of Ricardas Berankis and Marcus Giron. Nadal has a run till the final where he can face Goffin, Murray or Dimitrov and the Spaniard last won a hardcourt title two years ago.
The serve machine has improved a lot in the hardcourts as seen in the last season. Opelka will try to set the tone at Melbourne with his first serves and boring back his hardcourt form just from last year. The American will face the winner of two qualifiers in the fourth round and has chances of playing against Kevin Anderson or Paire in the quarterfinals. He last won a title two years ago on this surface and reached his maiden Masters 1000 final last year.
Dimitrov rolled back the times when he played the previous season. The Bulgarian has played well in Australia over the past few years and needs to bring in the energy for some good starts to the season. Dimitrov also has the possibility of facing Murray in his opening match but once that is cleared up then he will only face tough ones in the end. Dimitrov last won a hardcourt title four years ago but last year he showed glimpses at Indian Wells. The world number 28 last played at Paris Masters 2 months ago and now will need to slide in through Melbourne.
Sania-Kichenok, Ramkumar-Bopanna advance in Adelaide
Adelaide, Jan 4 (Tennis News) On an all-win day for Indian tennis players, Sania Mirza and the pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Rohan Bopanna emerged victorious in their respective first round matches, albeit in contrasting fashion, in the ATP and WTA tournaments, here on Tuesday.
Sania and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok overcame a first-set thrashing to knock out second seeds Gabriella Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos 1-6 6-3 10-8 in the WTA 500 event.
In the ATP 250 men's event, the Indian combination of Ramkumar and veteran Bopanna, pairing up together for the first time on the ATP tour, had an easy day out.
They trounced American Jamie Cerretani and Brazilian Fernando Romboli 6-2 6-1 to set up the pre-quarterfinal with eighth seed American pair of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow.
"We had a good match. Both of us served And returned well. We combined well and stuck to the plan," Ramkumar told PTI.
"We had practiced once with the same team before the draw which helped us.
"I am always happy to play with Bops (Bopanna), who is so experienced and is someone who has always been of good support and helps me with my tennis with all the experience he has," he added.
Since India will host Denmark on grass courts in New Delhi in their next Davis Cup tie in March, it is a possibility that Bopanna and Ramkumar, who has developed a fantastic serve and volley game, may pair up for the doubles.
This tournament will give them that opportunity to find out what works for them, if at all the captain decides to field them as a team.
Interestingly, Ramkumar got a chance to play with Denmark's top singles player Holger Rune in the singles Qualifiers and lost 4-6 6-7(7) in a close first round match.
Rune, ranked 103, eventually qualified for the main draw.
The match must have given him a fair idea of what to expect from Rune when he lands in Delhi for the Davis Cup.
"It was a good match. I think, I started off a bit slow where I got broken in the first game. But After that it was an extremely close and hard fought match "I was just a bit unlucky to not have converted those set points. He played good on a few of them and he is quick, so all credit to him. Hopefully I can get him back on grass," Ramkumar said.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Australia overpower Italy as Humbert puts up a show against Russia in ATP Cup
News Source : PTI
Ashleigh Barty, Maria Sakkari leading the charge at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) The first WTA event of the season has started and all the top players are lined up for a tight start. This is the second year that the Adelaide International 1 has been held as the inaugural edition was in 2020. The WTA 500 event will help the players for the 2022 Australian Open as they get used to the hardcourts in Australia. Leylah Fernandez had been a machine on wheels at the US Open and will get the pedal going from the start of the season. Here are the top four players to watch out for in the event.
The world number one and the defending champion Ashleigh Barty is the favourite to take the title again as the winds are blowing in her favour. The 25 year old had a great season in 2021 and will look to start the year with a deep run in the opening week. The hardcourts will make sure the Australian feels right at home and prep her up for the major. Barty has chances of playing Cori Gauff in the next round and has a bit of dirt in her parth.
Sakkari has already started her season campaign with a win in the opening round. The third seed had lost in the fourth round to Donna Vekic the last time she played here but this time she is much more determined to make it to the peak. Sakkari has grown a lot in the past 12 months and with her powerful groundstrokes can break new grounds. She can face Shelby Rogers in the next round and has a smooth passage next.
The Spaniard is new to the top 10 but not new in beating top ranked players. She will look to start 2022 with a victory and has already proven herself in bigger tournaments. Badosa has a tough opening match against Victoria Azarenka and even if she overcomes her will mostly face Petra Kvitova. Two important victories in the opening matches will give her the confidence for the final rounds. Badosa played 32 events which was the most by a top 20 player and can take heavy load without breaking down.
Svitolina is one of the most experienced players at the event. The 27 year old has been one of the top ranked players over the past few years and needs to have a breakthrough in the start of the season to keep the flow running for the next few months. Svitolina is playing at the event for the first time, the Ukrainian needs 13 more victories for 400 career victories and will get her form running against Anastasia Gasanova in the opening round tomorrow.
Venus Williams joins Serena over withdrawal from 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Venus Williams has joined her sister Serena Williams in skipping the 2022 Australian Open. Venus had skipped the US Open last year due to a leg injury and has not confirmed the status of her comeback. It is the first time in 25 years that the Williams sisters won't be seen playing at Melbourne.
The 41 year old first played at Melbourne in 1998 and since then has only missed it thrice. She has reached the final twice in 2003, 2017 and lost both the times to Serena. Venus reached the finals at Melbourne, Wimbledon in 2017 and also reached the semifinals of the US Open that year which was the last time she went beyond the third round of a Grand Slam. She has played 75 matches at Melbourne while winning 54 of them and has not progressed beyond the third round in four years.
The former world number 1 is currently ranked 318 as she has not played many events in the past twelve months and also did not play much in the 2020 season. She is one of the oldest active players on tour and has battled life threatening conditions to come back on court. Venus played her first professional match 28 years ago and is the senior most player who is currently playing. She entered the rankings chart in 1996 and was in the top ten for more than a decade although now she has to work her way up. One of the most resilient players on tour, the 6 foot one inch athlete has suffered multiple serious injuries in her career but has been able to bounce back every time.
The 8 time singles Grand Slam winner only played 12 matches last season and ended her season in August at the Chicago Open. She last won a title 5 years ago defeating Misaki Doi to take the Taiwan Open and last reached a final four years ago at the WTA Finals losing to Caroline Wozniacki. In the 2021 season, she played 9 events and did not enter the fourth round in any of them.
Venus will be joining Jennifier Brady, Karolina Pliskova and Karolina Muchova in skipping the Australian Open. The last two majors have seen many seniors players being absent due to recurring injuries as the toll is rising at each event. The Australian Open will start from 17th January as the players get pumped up for the first major of the year.
Samantha Stosur to play last singles match at Melbourne
(Tennis news) Samantha Stosur has announced she will retire from singles after the Australian Open. The 37 year old has over 600 career wins and has played 1000 matches on tour in singles. Stosur turned professional in 1999 then four years later won her first match on the WTA tour, she reached the semifinal for the first time in a Grand Slam at Roland Garros. She went on to reach the final next year but lost to Francesca Schiavone.
The former world number 4 won her biggest singles title in 2011 at US Open, defeating Serena Williams in the final. In 2012, she reached semis in Roland Garros and quarters at US Open after which her form dipped. Stosur’s last success in singles was in Roland Garros where she reached the semifinals in 2016 where she lost to eventual champion Garbine Muguruza. Stosur has won 40 matches at Roland Garros dating from 2004 to 2019.
"I’m so excited and very grateful to play in my 20th [Australian Open] in a couple of weeks time. A huge thank you to Tennis Australia for giving me this opportunity to finish my singles career at my home Grand Slam," Stosur wrote in an Instagram post.
"It really means a lot to me to be able to finish in front of my family, friends and Aussie fans who have stuck by me through thick and thin. I’m sure it’s going to be a mix of emotions but I wouldn’t want it any other way as I always thought I’d finish playing in Australia."
Stosur is currently ranked No. 382 in the world and received a wild card to play in her 20th career main draw in Melbourne. She made her debut here 2 decades ago when she was a 17-year-old. Although she has not been very active in singles , Stosur is 16th in the doubles ranking. She has reached the finals of all the four majors in doubles and is yet to win at Wimbledon.
Stosur won the US Open with Zhang Shuai last year which was her fourth Grand Slam title in women's doubles. The previous season also saw her finish as runner up at Melbourne with Matthew Ebden in mixed doubles. In the mixed doubles, Stosur has reached the last eight in all four majors, she has won at Australia and twice in Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic looking to keep next gen waiting in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic is on the edge of breaking more records in the 2022 season. Djokovic will not be playing at the ATP Cup and will be eager to make his return at the 2022 Australian Open. He has played 62 matches this year and only lost 7 of them including a 27-1 record at the Grand Slams.
Djokovic’s 2021 season was a constant reminder that the next gen will have to pull off a near impossible stunt to take the Grand Slam titles away from the big three. The Serbian won his record 9th Australian Open for a hat trick of victories at Melbourne. Djokovic had an early exit at Monte Carlo as Daniel Evans handed him the first defeat of the season, at Belgrade it was a semifinal exit and Aslan Karatsev did not hesitate in a three setter match.
The world number 1 then met his arch rival Rafael Nadal at Rome in the final as it took almost 3 hours when Nadal finally lifted the trophy. It was the Spaniard’s 28th victory over Djokovic and was trailing by one in their career head to head meetings. Djokovic then got a second chance at home as he won his second title of the season, at Roland Garros the 34 year old became the first man to defeat Nadal twice at the event. Djokovic recorded his 30th victory over the king of clay and went on to win the title after losing the first two sets against Stefanos Tstisipas.
Djokovic then moved on to grass as he was one Grand Slam away from equalling Roger Federer and Nadal’s record of 20 titles. Although he looked a bit hungover from clay madness as he dropped the first set in the opening round against world number 253 Jack Draper but did not drop a set after that until the final. The record books had to be edited as Djokovic won his 20th major.
Djokovic was aiming to repeat Steffi Graf’s Golden Slam in 1988, his hopes took a huge hit when Alexander Zverev defeated him in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics. The 20 time major winner was visibly upset in his bronze medal match, even throwing the racquet at one point as the pressure took a toll on the champion. His next stop was at US Open, he got the Tokyo revenge over Zverev in the semifinals but Daniil Medvedev got his for the Australian Open loss. Medvedev played so well that even Djokovic’s cheeky smile disappeared and he lost the opportunity to be in the likes of Rod Laver who was the last one to win a calendar slam four decades back.
Djokovic got the final laugh over Medvedev at Paris Masters but his all year charm was turned to dust at the US Open. Although he was on top this year, the pressure has affected him to the extent that he was in tears in the middle of the match against Medvedev in the final at US Open. The record breaking run came to an end which clearly devastated Djokovic, a similar picture was painted earlier when Federer lost the Melbourne final to Nadal in 2009 as it moved the Swiss player to tears.
The 2022 season has mainly two targets. The first one is to stop the big three from winning any more Grand Slams and the second is for the big three to win a few more until they bid farewell from the game. A few more heartbreaking victories can hurt the big three more than any physical injury as the next gen will be focused on starting a new era and the time has come.
Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev withdraw from ATP Cup
(Tennis news) The ATP Cup groups and list of players were released on Wednesday as the latest updates saw many changes take place. Novak Djokovic will not be playing the event along with Andrey Rublev. Rublev had tested positive for COVID-19 a few days ago and will need to complete isolation before he comes back to court as even Rafael Nadal and Denis Shapovalov had also tested positive after playing the Abu Dhabi exhibition event.
Djokovic had beaten Rafael Nadal in the final of the inaugural edition last year. The world number one last played at the Nitto ATP Finals where he lost in the semifinals to Alexander Zverev who went on to win for a second time. Djokovic had a record breaking year by reaching the finals of the four Grand Slams and losing only at the US Open to give Daniil Medvedev his first major.
The Serbian is expected to play at the 2022 Australian Open as the vaccination rules keep him in doubt. Meanwhile at the ATP Cup, Serbia will be led by Dusan Lajovic as the team will find it tough without its top player. Things have got tougher for defending champions Russia as Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy have pulled out of the event; Daniil Medvdev will lead the field along with Roman Safiullin and Evgeny Karlovskiy.
“We have all been giving our best in the past days,” said Lajovic. “I'm looking forward to competing with these guys together by my side. Obviously, there are some tactical differences and pressure-wise, but at the end of the day, you've got to go out there, play your match and try to win.”
Meanwhile Andrey Rublev said, "I want to share some news with you. I am currently in Barcelona and unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19. I have minimal symptoms. I am in isolation and following all the protocols under the supervision of doctors. As you know, I am fully vaccinated and was preparing for tournaments -- ATP Cup and Australian Open. Now I have to recover and I will go to Melbourne only when it will be safe for everyone. I am very upset and concerned about what is happening. I will return to the court as soon as possible," added the world number 5
Russia were the strongest team this year as they also won the Davis Cup a few weeks back. Rublev had reached four finals this year including his first final in a Masters 1000 as he did it twice. The Russian had reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open earlier this year which was his third consecutive last eight appearance after the US Open and Roland Garros last year.
Austria will not be playing this time with the withdrawal of Dominic Thiem and Dennis Novak as France will be a replacement. Austria had lost both the matches it played this year as in the previous edition it played three matches and won one. France this year lost their first match but won the second one against Austria, last year they won their first two matches and lost the third match to South Africa.
Ashleigh Barty looking for a title at home in 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty will step into the 2022 season as world number one for the third consecutive time, she will be looking for a maiden title here and her third overall when she plays the 2022 Australian Open.
Barty had started this season with a title win at home in Yarra Valley Classic where she defeated Garbine Muguruza in the final. At the Australian Open, the world number one had a surprise exit at the quarterfinal as she was knocked out by Karolina Muchova. She faced another early exit at Adelaide International losing to Danielle Collins in the opening match.
The Australian won the first WTA of the year at Miami, defeating three top ten on her way to the title. Barty then lost to Paula Badosa at the Credit One Charleston Open in the quarterfinal stage but came back to win the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix by defeating Aryna Sabalenka in the final.
The two time Grand Slam winner was looking in control on clay as she reached the final in Madrid taking revenge on Badosa for a place in the final, Sabalenka then avenged her loss in the previous event by beating Barty for the title. Barty then had to retire midway in her event match against Cori Gauff due to an arm injury and again retired hurt at Roland Garros because of a recurring hip injury. She only had two weeks to recover before Wimbledon and it was all she needed as Barty won her second major defeating newly crowned Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova in the fourth round.
The 25 year old came into the Tokyo Olympics with full confidence but the hopes were torn to dust in the first match by Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo who knocked out the top seed in straight sets. It did not break her hopes completely and proved it by winning in Cincinnati which was her second WTA 1000 of the season. In the final Grand Slam of the year, Barty faced an early exit when Shelby Rogers scripted one of the most inspiring comebacks of the year. Rogers was down 2-5 in the final set but rallied as the crowds were in full support each time she won a game and then secured the win in the tie break. Barty had won all her previous five matches against Shelby and four of them had come this year.
Barty had withdrawn from the WTA finals Guadalajara saying that she needs rest and needs time to get ready for the 2022 Australian Open. The hip injury had hampered her chances at Roland Garros, though she ended the season in November; the former Big Bash cricketer played 50 matches and won 42 of them. Her best performance at home has been the semifinal finish in 2020, whereas two years later she reached the quarterfinals and next year will be off the blocks to become the first Australian women in three decades to take the singles title.
Dominic Thiem adds more woes with withdrawal from 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Dominic Thiem has announced that he won't be taking part in the 2022 Australian Open. Thiem has been battling with a wrist injury since June this year, he had last played at Mallorca where retiring midway in the opening match against Adrian Mannarino. He has only played 18 matches this season and will see his ranking drop once he comes back in action at the end of next month.
"As you all know, I came back home to Austria to recover after the hard practice sessions I had in Dubai and the slight setback in my preparation. I am now feeling well again, my wrist is in optimal conditions and I am practicing normally with a very good intensity", said Thiem.
"After the short holidays, my team and I have assessed all matters and we have decided to make some changes to my initial tournament schedule: I will start the season in South America at the Cordoba Open in Argentina, end of January, and therefore I will not play this year at the Australian Open in Melbourne, a city that I love and where I have great memories of unforgettable matches in front of amazing crowds. I will miss the Australian fans but I will be back in 2023.”
The 2020 US Open champion will miss the Australian Open for the first time since making his debut in 2014. He had reached the finals last year by defeating Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal on the way, Novak Djokovic defeated Thiem in the final as the Serbian came back from a 2-1 set deficit in a four hour match. Thiem’s absence will also mean Austria taking a backseat at the ATP Cup as World number 119 Dennis Novak will be leading the team.
The 28 year old also won his first Grand Slam last year at the US Open and at Roland Garros he reached the quarterfinals to cap off the year as the world number 3. His current rank is 15 which will see a further fall after the first three three weeks in January. He was playing his 10th year on tour this season and failed to reach a final including a shock first round exit at Roland Garros.
Thiem has now joined Roger Federer, Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka as the list continues to grow for the 2022 Australian Open. Nadal so far has not given statements about missing the Slam although he tested positive a few days back. There are also questions looming about Novak Djokovic’s participation especially regarding the vaccination rules for the players entering the event. The 2022 Australian Open is set to start from 17th January as the next gen players will again play in a similar situation like the 2021 US Open.
Spaniard Garbine Muguruza back on top three in WTA tour
(Tennis news) Garbine Muguruza has had a great season on the WTA Tour, climbing back into the top three of the rankings. Muguruza played 59 matches this year in which she won 42 of them. She started the year ranked 15 and had a gradual rise to the top three.
The 28 year old reached the final in the second event of the season at Yarra Valley Classic, even beating Sofia Kenin on the way to the final where she lost to Ashleigh Barty. At the Australian Open, she reached the fourth round before losing to champion Naomi Osaka. In the next event at Qatar, Muguruza reached her second final in two months but lost to Petra Kvitova in the final. She came back to reach another final in Dubai, beating Aryna Sabalenka for the second consecutive time and then defeated Barbora Krejcikova in the final.
The Spaniard then did not reach the last four in the next 10 events after three finals in the first 5 events of the season. She also could not secure a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, losing out to Elena Rybakina in straight sets. After a gap of almost 6 months, Muguruza won the title in Chicago after beating Ons Jabeur in the final. At the WTA Finals, Muguruza was the second most experienced player after Karolina Pliskova and the senior most player handed her a defeat in the second match. Muguruza lost only one match on the way to win the biggest title of the season.
"It's been a crazy season with the Olympics involved as well. It has been a year with many challenges, but at the same time, very successful for me.” Muguruza didn't enjoy success at the Grand Slam level in 2021 but still she felt it was the best season of her career.
"I truly believe this has been my best career season, even though I haven't won slam tournaments," Muguruza claimed. "It was a season in which I managed to find continuity in the game, albeit with ups and downs in the result.”
The two time Grand Slam winner was ranked number 1 four years ago and this year she has given herself a second chance to reclaim the top spot. Muguruza struggled at the Grand Slams as she reached the fourth round in Australia and at the US Open meanwhile at Roland Garros she was knocked out in the opening match. At Wimbledon where she last won a Grand Slam, she reached the third round, Muguruza winning the finals title was a stern reminder that next year she can pick up her usual speed at the majors. At the 2022 Australian Open, she will try to avenge her 2020 final loss and lift a crown that can boost her chances of becoming the world number again.
Angelique Kerber looking to repeat glorious past in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Angelique Kerber is one the few active players with multiple Grand Slam titles in singles. Kerber was last ranked world number 1 in July 2017 and four years later she is ranked 16th but has been in the top 50 since 2010. It will be her 19th year on tour when she enters the 2022 season and is one of the senior most players on tour.
The 33 year old won a title after 3 years at Homburg beating her old rival at Petra Kvitova in the semifinal for the seventh time. The two had faced for the first time in 2012 at Stuttgart Open after which they have played 15 times including thrice this year. Kerber played 46 matches and only lost 16 of them as most of them came at the first half of the season.
Kerber had lost 8 of the first fourteen matches at the start of the year including first round losses at Roland Garros and Australian Open. In the first 10 events of the season she reached the quarterfinals once, she had reached the last eight at her first event of the season at Grampians trophy defeating Ons Jabeur in the fourth round.
The left hander reached the final at Homburg which was the first she went beyond the quarterfinals in the 2021 season. After winning the title, she went on to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon by beating Cori Gauff, Karolina Muchova on the way before losing to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty. Kerber then went on a vintage run by reaching the semifinals at Cincinnati by defeating Kvitova, Maria Sakkari, Elina Svitolina, Jelena Ostapenko and then again lost to Barty in straight sets.
The three time Grand Slam winner then reached the fourth round until she was beaten by runner up Leylah Fernandez in a battle of attacking left handers. Kerber had beaten 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens in the previous round but could not defend against the rising star. She then reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells losing to Spaniard Paula Badosa. Kerber last played in November at Billie Jean Cup Finals losing to Belina Bencic in the opening match.
The former world number 1 last won a Grand Slam title in 2018 at Wimbledon. This year she reached the semifinal at the prestigious grass event showing that there is still a lot of fuel left in the tank. The German is known for her speed in the court, even though she has to compete against younger players; Kerber is still an attacking left hander who can use her forehand to give the opponents a tough time. The 2022 Australian Open will be her 15th appearance at the event and will be raring to go.
Also read: The rise of Paula Badosa in the 2021 season
The rise of Paula Badosa in the 2021 season
(Tennis news) Paula Badosa had a poor start to the 2021 season as she suffered a fourth round exit at Abu Dhabi and then lost in the first round at the Australian Open. Badosa was ranked 70 twelve months ago and made her top ten debut a month ago. Her rise on the WTA tour has been remarkable and is projected to go higher next year.
The Spaniard reached the semifinals at Lyon where she lost to qualifier Calra Tauson. Her first big jump came at Credit one Charleston Open, she reached the semifinals by beating Belina Bencic in the third round and upsetting Ashleigh Barty in the quarterfinals. Badosa then reached the last four again at the Madrid Open, she defeated Barbora Krejcikova and Bencic on the way before losing to Barty. Her clay dominance continued at the Serbia Open as she won her career first title, the 24 year old then backed it with a quarterfinal appearance at Roland Garros as her rankings shot up.
Badosa climbed up 40 places in three months with four consecutive quarter final or better performances. The Roland Garros quarterfinalist then reached the fourth round at Wimbledon while picking up her first victory at the event, she went on to lose to Karolina Muchova in straight sets. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, in-form Badosa had to retire in the quarterfinal match against Marketa Vondrousova due to a heatstroke.
A shoulder injury during the Western and Southern Open forced Badosa to retire in the quarterfinal against Karolina Pliskova. An early exit at the US Open and Ostrava Open made her slip one place below in the rankings. The Indian Wells event was next as Badosa was playing in the main draw for the first time, she beat Cori Gauff, Barbora Krejcikova, Angelique Kerber, Ons Jabeur and set up a final with experienced player Victoria Azarenka. The final went on for three hours and it took two tie breaks as it gave Badosa her biggest title so far, the win pushed her into the top ten.
The 5 feet 11 inch player then reached the semifinals at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara which took her to 8th place in the rankings. Badosa defeated Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari before losing the final group stage match to Iga Swatiek. In the semifinal clash of the two Spaniards, Garbine Muguruza came out on top to reach the final and eventually win the title.
Badosa has been one of the top performers on clay this season. She will be one of the players to watch out for at Roland Garros and has not taken much time to enter the top ten rankings. The two time title winner has a powerful serve and groundstrokes which came into use at harcourts. Badosa is not afraid to take up chances, she will look to start the 2022 Australian Open with a thumping win and get warmed up for the clay season.
Andy Murray receives wildcard for 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Andy Murray is back in the Australian Open after two years, he last played in 2019 where he lost the opening round to Roberto Bautista Agut in a four hour marathon. Murray will be playing the Australian Open for the 14th time next year and is 2 victories away from 50 career wins at the first Grand Slam of the year.
“I’m really excited to be back playing at the Australian Open and grateful to Craig and the team for the opportunity," Murray said in a statement. "I’ve had some great times in Australia playing in front of the amazing crowds and I can’t wait to step back out on court at Melbourne Park.”
The 34 year old had one of his best streaks here a decade ago as from 2010 to 2016 he reached the finals 5 times and reached the quarterfinal and semifinal once. The Scot reached two consecutive finals twice in 2010,11 and in 2015,16; Novak Djokovic defeated him in four of the five finals while Roger Federer defeated him in the 2010 final.
Murray has been making a comeback since his hip surgery which almost brought down the curtains in his career after the 2019 event. The three time Grand Slam winner has shown strength in the toughest phase of his career as currently only Djokovic out of the big four has not suffered major injuries so far. Murray, Nadal and Federer are recovering from injuries as Federer won’t be seen in action this time.
More wildcards will be announced soon by the organizers as the five time finalist did have some convincing victories this year. He defeated Jannik Sinner, Hubert Hurkacz, Carlos Alcaraz and the list will grow next year. Murray played 29 matches this year same as Rafael Nadal and won 15 of them as Nadal had 24 wins. Nine more victories will give Murray 700 career wins which is the fourth most amongst active players after the big three.
The former world number one has never defeated Djokovic in five of their meetings at Australia, but has defeated Federer once and Nadal twice in which the Spaniard retired hurt in the second meeting. He has not faced Nadal for over 5 years, Federer for 6 years and Djokovic in 4 years and maybe the 2022 Australian Open can bring the old days back which can inspire the new gen even more.
Cori Gauff on her way to win majors in singles and doubles
(Tennis news) Cori Gauff also known as Coco Gauff is one the top teenagers on tour. Although Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez hogged the limelight at the US Open this year, Coco has been on the tour since 2019. The teenager is the third highest ranked American behind Sofia Kenin and Jessica Pegula.
Gauff is the youngest player to be ranked in the current top 200, she is currently ranked 22 and is 14 victories away from 100 career wins. Although not a very tall player, her serve can reach speeds of 180 km/ hour and has a flat backhand which changes the angle even at high speeds. The 17 year old has a powerful forehand but it is not as consistent as her backhand, she is quick in between rallies. She hit some unplayable lobs during the Australian Open this year that showcased her prowess.
The young prodigy has been a consistent player on tour, she won her second career title this year at Emilia Romagna Open along with her third doubles title partnering with Catherine Mcnally. She defeated Amanda Anisimova in the quarterfinals and only dropped a set while winning the title. Gauff is also improving her game at the nets as she and Mcnally reached the final of the US Open losing to Samantha Stosur and Shuai Zhang. The American pair did not drop a set on their way to the final and showed that they can win big titles even though both are teenagers.
Gauff reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam in singles for the first time at Roland Garros this year. She beat Ons Jabeur in straight sets, Jennifier Brady until Brady retired hurt after losing the first set 6-1. The young American has played 50 matches this year and won 36 of them. It will be interesting to see how she handles the pressure at the 2022 Australian Open as now there are a handful of teenagers who can reach the end stages of any major.
The WTA tour has not had a consistent champion on tour for years except for Serena Williams. Naomi Osaka is expected to come back to Australia as she has been winning a Grand Slam since 2018. There are 4, 5 players who will win multiple slams next year but they will have to watch out for hungry young players who are expanding their trophy cabinet. Gauff knows what it takes and how stressful it is but she can adapt to these conditions.
Also read: Jurgen Melzer, Viktor Troicki bid farewell to the sport this year
Jurgen Melzer, Viktor Troicki bid farewell to the sport this year
(Tennis news) The 2021 season saw many players saying goodbye to the sport and they won’t be seen once the 2022 season begins. Although only few players are left who have been playing since the early 2000’s, most of them have been affected with injuries and exited the top 100 while some of them are still in the top 50. Let's look at some players who have retired this year.
Melzer has been playing on the tour since 1999 and turned 40 this year. The left hander had 350 wins in his singles and doubles career although he last played a singles match in 2018 at Vienna. His last Grand Slam match was in the 2017 Australian Open against Roger Federer in the first round, Melzer will be remembered for his two set comeback win against Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Roland Garros. That was the only instance a player beat the Serbian from two sets down, Melzer had also beaten Rafael Nadal at the Shanghai Masters 1000 that year. Melzer reached the fourth round in all the slams and the 2010 Roland Garros Semifinal was his best result.
In the doubles event, Melzer won the Wimbledon and US Open title with Philipp Petzschner. The former world number 8 also has five singles titles and retired from the singles tour in 2018.
Dolgopolov last played a match in 2018 at Rome when he suffered a wrist injury. The Ukrainian last won a title in 2017 at Buenos Aires defeating the then world number 5 Kei Nishikori in the final. Dolgopolov was known for his unconventional strokes as his forehand and backhand were unorthodox but quite effective as it was not predictable. The 6 time tour finalist had a rock solid backhand drop shot which had a huge amount of spin that made even players like Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov give up the chase.
Dolgopolov’s biggest moment came at the 2011 Australian Open where he reached the quarterfinals defeating Robin Soderling in the fourth round in a five setter match. 3 years later at Indian Wells he took out World number one Nadal in the opening round and went on to reach the semifinals where he lost to Roger Federer. In 2015, the former world number 13 reached the semifinals at Cincinnati as a qualifier.
Troicki was last seen playing a few months in the grass courts at the Cinch Championships where he reached the fourth round. The 35 year old had won three titles in the singles tour and last won a title at Sydney five years back. Troicki, Janko Tipsarevic and Djokovic were Serbia’s leasing singles players on tour until Tipsarevic retired two years back and now Troicki joined his fellow countryman. The 2020 ATP Cup saw Serbia winning the title as Troicki teamed up with Djokovic in the final doubles rubber against Spain and in the doubles he only lost one match against Chile. Troicki was the world number 11 a decade ago and is hanging up the racquets after being on the tour for 15 years.
Paolo has been on tour since 2003 although his first and only title came in 2016 making him the oldest first time singles champion since 1990. The Italian played two main tour matches this year and was one of the most hard working professionals on tour. The 40 year old cracked the top 35 in 2017 after two runner up finishes and a fourth round appearance at the US Open.
“I would like them to remember me as a player who was trying his best every time on court and was fighting until the end,” Lorenzi said. “This was the best journey of my life. I really enjoyed every moment. Every time I was on court, it was a dream that came true.”
India's Anahat Singh wins Junior US Open Squash Meet
New Delhi, Dec 22 (Tennis News) Indian teenager Anahat Singh has won the prestigious Junior US Open Squash tournament in the U-15 girls' category in Philladelphia.
The 13-year-old Delhi girl defeated Jayda Marei of Egypt 11-9 11-5 8-11 11-5 in the final.
In the semifinal, Anahat beat US junior national champion Dixon Hill 11-8 11-9 11-5.
More than 850 top juniors from 41 nations participated in one of the most revered global squash tourney.
The tournament was played at the Arlen Spectre Centre in Philadelphia.
Also Read : Karolina Muchova announces withdrawal from 2022 Australian Open
News Source : PTI
Karolina Muchova announces withdrawal from 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Karolina Muchova has become the latest player to announce her non participation in the 2022 Australian Open. The 25 year old last played at the US Open where she was knocked out on the first round by Sara Sorribes Tormo, Muchova had announced on September 30 that her season is over. Muchova then declared yesterday that she won’t be playing in Australia.
"I'm sad to announce that my 2022 season will not start in Australia. I'm doing all I can to get back on the court as soon as I'm able," Muchova wrote on Twitter.
The world number 32 had played 28 matches this year and won 19 of them, she reached the semifinals for the first time at this year’s Australian Open. Muchova defeated Karolina Pliskova in the third round and then went on to defeat Elise Mertens in the next match as both her victories were in straight sets. In the quarterfinals, she upset world number one Ashleigh Barty after losing the first set 1-6 to reach the last four where she lost to Jennifer Brady in three sets.
Muchova entered Roland Garros with a career high ranking of 19 but lost in the third round to Sloane Stephens after which her ranking dropped. The Czech player then reached the Quarter Final stage at Wimbledon beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Paula Badosa on the way. Muchova lost to Angelique Kerber as she could only manage to win five games in the match. She had reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon two years ago where she defeated Anett Kontaveit and Pliskova but lost to Elina Svitolina.
Muchova had suffered from an abdominal injury in August while playing at Cincinnati WTA 1000, she had beaten Johanna Konta in the first match and then beat 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the third round. She faced Belinda Bencic who won the singles Gold and doubles Silver at Tokyo Olympics, Muchova was trailing 3-5 in the first set when she dug through to make it 5 all. Bencic although won the set and in the second set the pain was too much to handle as Muchova retired midway to end the match.
Muchova has an attacking type of play and comes to the net to finish the points. She does not stay in the baseline as her powerful serve and groundstrokes enable her to take control over rallies against her opponent. Although she has not said when she will be back on tour, Muchova will aim to enter the top ten of the rankings in the 2022 season.
Stefanos Tsitsipas to comeback strong for 2022 season after injury recovery
(Tennis news) Stefanos Tsitsipas is amongst the next big four in tennis along with Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem. Tsitsipas enjoyed a career best of 55 wins in a season which was one more than his 2019 season although he won 3 titles that year compared to 2 this year.
Tsitsipas started with the year with two victories at the ATP Cup and had one of the best starts to the season by reaching the last four in 7 of the next 11 events. He reached the semifinals of the Australian Open after a 4 hour quarter final battle against Rafael Nadal in one of the best matches at the tournament and had lost to him two years ago in the semifinal. Tsitsipas was a two time defending champion at Marseille but this time made a quarterfinal exit as he was beaten by Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Tsitsipas won his first title of the season at Monte Carlo which was his second biggest title after the Nitto ATP Finals win in 2019.
Tsitsipas reached the final at Barcelona to make it two consecutive finals after his win at Monte Carlo, this time he was beaten by Nadal in three sets as the final went on for 3 and half hours. At Roland Garros, Tsitsipas reached the final for the first after beating Zverev and Medvedev on the way to set up a summit clash with Novak Djokovic. After an hour, Tsitsipas took the first set even saving a set point and went on to win the second set as he inched closer to the title but Djokovic’s mental game was too good to break. The Serbian conceded five games in the next two sets and took the final set 6-4 to win his second title of the year.
Tsitsipas then lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Frances Tiafoe in straight sets but took revenge by beating him in the third round at Tokyo Olympics and lost the next match to Ugo Humbert. Tsitsipas then beat Humbert at Toronto and went on to reach the semifinals where he lost to server Reily Opelka. At Cincinnati, he again reached the semifinals but lost to Zverev after having a 4-1 lead in the third set. In the next 6 events he failed to reach the semifinals as his season came to an end at the Nitto ATP finals where he played one match and withdrew due to an elbow injury.
Tsitsipas reached his third consecutive Grand Slam semi final at Roland Garros this year. The Greek god has a classic one handed backhand like Thiem and is one of the few players to still have it. Tsitsipas showed fearlessness against Djokovic in his debut final but could not hold onto the momentum in the final stages which happens at the big stages. Tsitsipas is currently recovering from the injury and is set to make a comeback at the start of the 2022 season.
Tsitsipas will try to get a good start at the 2022 Australian Open and maybe beat Djokovic at his favorite Slam. Tsitsipas had defeated Roger Federer in the 2019 edition and this year took out Nadal so he can target big this time. Amongst the next gen, Tsitsipas is not the best in terms of court temperament as he had some issues at the US Open where had taken too much time for toilet breaks and it did not go well with Andy Murray. Tsitsipas is only 23 and winning big titles at the expense of a few racquets has been occurring for decades now.
Jannik Sinner seeking to enter the top five in ATP rankings in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Jannik Sinner is the current youngest player in the top ten as he is only 20 years old and in his third year on the ATP tour. The Italian had a rapid rise to the top this year with four titles in five finals all coming on hard courts. Sinner started the season with a title at Melbourne 1 defeating Karen Khachanov in the semifinals, in the next two events he made first round exits. He will be expected to stage some upset at the 2022 Australian Open.
Sinner had never progressed beyond the fourth in Masters 1000 until this year when he made the finals at Miami defeating Khachanov for the second time this year and beat Roberto Bautista Agut in the semifinals. In the finals he lost to Hubert Hurkacz and at Barcelona he reached the semifinals by beating Andrey Rublev in straight sets. In the next 7 events, he did not progress beyond the fourth round until his title win at Washington where he beat four Americans on the way.
Sinner’s next title came at the Sofia Open where he was the defending champion. In the finals he defeated Gael Monfils for the second time in a row as he had beaten the Frenchmen at the US Open. Sinner then didn't drop for the second consecutive to win a title at Antwerp and went on to reach the semifinals at Vienna which projected him to career best ranking of 9.
Sinner was expected to play at the Nitto ATP Finals but a first round loss at the Paris Masters put him in the backseat. He then got a chance at his hometown when fellowmen Matteo Berrettini was injured and Sinner got off to a winning start as the crowd went berserk in his match against Hurkacz.
Sinner’s strokes are always on the offensive and hit flat with incredible force that causes him to master the hardcourts. Sinner has proven that even with very little experience, he can beat the elite players and with more practice can perform well in high pressure matches. The match against Carlos Alcaraz at Paris was supposed to be a trailer for what the rivalry holds in the future. Sinner is quick around the court and can also stretch to hit impressive winners.
Sinner is yet to make an impression at Grand Slams, he reached the quarter final stage at Roland Garros last year and that has been his only appearance at that level so far. He has only played at 8 Grand Slams so far but has many competitors aside him. Now with the top ten entry, Sinner will try to transfer his hardcourts supremacy into the Grand Slams as three of the four Grand Slams are held in fast moving courts. Sinner will need to progress deeper at the majors as he can then have a crack at the top five of the rankings.
Thiem and Nadal cast doubts over 2022 Australian Open participation
(Tennis news) The 2022 Australian Open may have more absentees as the latest updates about Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem added doubts about their participation. Nadal has tested positive after playing at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week. The Spaniard was playing after a gap of almost 3 months, he played two matches last week against Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov. Although he lost both the matches, Nadal was looking in shape and is now doubtful about participating in the year’s first Grand Slam.
Nadal has been playing the Australian Open since 2004 and has only missed it twice since then. He did not play in 2006 and 2013, his only title here came in 2009 while defeating Roger Federer in the final. This year, Nadal had lost in the quarter final stage to Stefanos Tsitsipas and lost to Thiem in the same round last year.
“The idea is to go there and try my best there in Australia, being 100% honest, I can’t guarantee it," Nadal said. “I need to speak with my team. It's been more than six months since the last real official match. Things are difficult and I accept that I was able to compete in both matches and even had my chances, so if we put that in perspective it’s a very positive thing.
“I went through this process unfortunately a lot of times in my tennis career but I need to practice and I need to be healthy enough to go through this process. If that happens, I’m confident that I will be back."
Meanwhile Dominic Thiem also announced that he will be missing the ATP Cup and Sydney Tennis Classic next month. His absence will be a big loss for Austria, Thiem had injured his wrist this year and was out of tour for six months. Six months back he failed to record a win at Roland Garros for the first time in his career and broke his streak of winning at least one title every season since 2015.
"I caught a cold while I was in Dubai and was unable to practice last week. I will therefore not be in the physical condition to be able to compete in the ATP Cup and Sydney ATP 250. After not competing for the last six months I cannot take the risk of coming back too early and picking up a further injury. My aim is still to play the Australian Open, but we will make a final decision on my participation by the end of December,” said Thiem.
Thiem has been featuring in the Australian Open since 2014 and reached the final last year as he lost to Novak Djokovic after taking the first two sets. The 28 year old will look to add to his US Open win last year when he comes back on tour in 2022.
Jennifer Brady confirms absence for 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Jennifer Brady has confirmed that she won’t be able to play the 2022 Australian Open as she hasn’t recovered from an injury. Brady was last seen playing in August at Cincinnati where she retired in the third round against Jelena Ostapenko due to a foot injury. The world number 25 reached the final of a Grand Slam for the first time this year at the Australian Open but lost to Naomi Osaka in straight sets.
Brady made her debut at the Grand Slams when she qualified for the 2017 Australian Open and reached the fourth round by defeating Heather Watson and Elena Vesnina on the way. She reached the fourth round at the US Open the same year and could only win one game as she lost to the then world number one Karolina Pliskova.
Brady went past the third round of a Grand Slam at the US Open last year as she reached the semifinals losing to Osaka in three sets. Brady had reached her career high ranking of 13 in February this season after which it dropped to 25 as she reached the fourth round once in the next 8 events. She played 25 matches this year and needs nine more victories for 250 career wins.
Brady also reached the semifinals of the Australian two years in the women’s doubles with Alison Riske where they lost to Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic. Brady also reached the quarterfinals last year partnering with Caroline Dolehide as the Australian Open remains the Slam where she has found the most wins. Brady won her first doubles title with Ashleigh Barty at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix WTA 500 in a tense three setter final against the American pair of Bethanie Mattek Sands and Desirae Krawczyk.
Brady will be joining Karolina Pliskova, Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu as the players on the WTA tour who will be missing out on the opening Grand Slam of the year. The US Open this year also saw many withdrawals on tour as the injuries kept piling on, the ATP Cup has also contributed to a tight packed schedule for the players.
Brady's injury update was tweeted by the Australian Open officials as there are questions over Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal’s participation. Brady has not announced when she will return on the tour, the 26 year old currently is the fourth highest ranked American on the WTA tour. Her rankings will drop as she is set to miss a few of the starting events in the next season.
Daniil Medvedev targets no 1 spot in season 2022
(Tennis news) Daniil Medvedev has been part of the next gen for the past 3 years. He got his first tour win in 2016 in Grass at Libema Open, since then he has embarked on a record breaking run on tour. Medvedev finished this year with most wins on the ATP tour as he had 63 wins. He was the only player with 60 plus wins and reached 8 finals while winning 4 of them.
Medvedev first reached the no 2 spot in rankings in March as he became the first player other than big four to take the position since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005. Medvedev had his chances at Roland Garros and Wimbledon to ascend to the world no 1 ranking but could not as Djokovic ended up winning the titles. Medvedev can become the first world number one other than the big four who have held the top spot since 2003, Andy Roddick was the last person other than the big four to become world number one 18 years ago.
Medvedev’s top moment came this year at the US Open which will forever be one of the top moments in tennis history. Medvedev was facing Novak Djokovic who was aiming to be the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the calendar slam. Medvedev had lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open final earlier this year in straight sets, Djokovic was the favorite given his experience and his form this year. Medvedev had 3 wins against the Serb while losing 5 in the previous 8 matches, Medvedev produced one of the most dominant performances to beat Djokovic in straight sets. It was heartbreak for Djokovic as he lost the final hurdle and it will be unsure when a chance similar to this will come next.
Medvedev also got his first victory at Roland Garros in his fifth attempt and went on to reach the quarterfinals. He also reached the Wimbledon fourth round for the first time, thus bettering his record at every Grand Slam this year. Medvedev’s breakthrough in the Grand Slam came two years ago at US Open two years where he reached the final and fought Rafael Nadal for almost five hours to take the runner up trophy.
Medvedev’s US Open victory made him the second player born in the 90’s after Dominic Thiem to win a Grand Slam title. Medvedev has now won a Grand Slam and has reached the no 2 in rankings. His next step will be to be the world number one and follow the footsteps of Roger Federer, Nadal as they are currently recovering from injuries but will be back next year. Medvedev will spearhead the next gen’s attack on the big three along with Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem.
Medvedev will have strong chances of becoming the world number one as he has come the closest to it than any other player in the past 15 years other than the big four. As of now, Medvedev is not plagued by injuries unlike many players even though his schedule has also been packed. Medvedev’s court coverage and baseline attack has made him one of the toughest players to beat on tour. He is 6 feet 6 inches tall but can still run and pick up tough drop shots as the 25 year old Russian is peaking at the right time. Medvedev has one clear goal for season 2022 and that is to be at the peak of the rankings.
Juan Martin del Potro expected to make comeback in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Juan Martin del Potro announced through social media that he was hoping to make a comeback on tour in the 2022 season. He last played in 2019 and has been recovering from knee injury. Del Potro has had multiple surgeries on his knee and wrist which has caused multiple breaks in his career.
"I’ve been training really hard. Some days are better than others, but always with the hope of coming back to compete early next year," Del Potro said. "It would be very special to come back to Buenos Aires and then play in Rio. As you can imagine, I’m giving my all every day so we can meet again very soon. I’ll keep you all updated with my progress. Take care.”
Del Potro's best moment on tour came in 2009 at the US Open. He became the first to defeat Roger Federer and Rafeal Nadal during the same Grand Slam. Del Potro was then 20 years old as he defeated Nadal in straight sets in the semifinal and in the final against five time defending champion Federer. Federer was only two points away from winning the title in the fourth set but Del Potro came back to win his first and only Grand Slam title. Del Potro is the only man outside the big four to win a major since the 2005 Australian Open till the 2014 Australian Open where Stan Wawrinka broke the streak. Del Potro again reached the finals at the US Open in 2018 where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
Del Potro has been one of the hardest hitters of the ball on tour. His forehands are known to reach speeds of almost 190 km/ hour and at an average of around 140 km/hour. He uses the eastern grip for his forehand and hits it flat without much wrist use. His height and long arms allows him to hit the ball even harder, he can hit hard forehands multiple times in a rally and his on the run shot has been compared to Fernando González. González is known to have one of the best forehands in tennis history as it was often used to hit powerful winners.
The Argentine is 6 feet 6 inches tall which gives him fast first serves and good reach while picking up a dropshot. His backhand is much slower than his forehand which exposes his weakness although it was much stronger in his early days before the wrist surgeries which limited the movement.
Del Potro was last seen playing in 2019 at London at Cinch Championships, he issued a walkover in the second round after falling at the net in the previous match against Denis Shapovalov. He had to undergo surgery on his right knee since then has not played a match on tour. He last won a title in 2018 at Indian wells for his first Masters 1000 title as he defeated Federer in the final.
World No 4 Karolina Pliskova to miss 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Karolina Pliskova became the third player after Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu to miss the 2022 Australian Open. The Czech player had injured her hand during practice and said she would miss the events in January, Pliskova had announced in social media about her injury.
"Some days are worse than others," Pliskova said. "Unfortunately I will be out for a while and will not compete at my favorite tournaments in Australia. But time and belief can heal everything."
The 29 year old played 56 matches this year and won 37 of them. She had defeated Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Australian Open before losing to Naomi Osaka in the semifinals. This year she lost in the third round where she lost to another Czech player Karolina Muchova. She had reached the finals in Wimbledon where she lost to Ashleigh Barty in three sets, at the US Open she reached the quarterfinals and lost to Maria Sakkari in straight sets.
Pliskova has been the ace leader of the WTA tour from 2014- 2017, 2019 and also this year. She has served 400 aces per season six times and served 500 plus in 2015 and 2016. This year she had 410 aces as her height allows her to reach the power for the killer serve and it plays a key role on hardcourts. Pliskova hit a record 24 aces in her second round match against Amanda Anisimova at the US Open, it was the highest in a match at the event and 6th highest overall on the WTA tour. Pliskova is also 22 wins away from reaching 600 career wins and will be a milestone she is most likely to achieve on her comeback.
Pliskova will be missing a Grand Slam event for the first time since 2012 where she failed to qualify for the US Open. She had been playing in 35 consecutive Grand Slams which is the fourth highest, a record she shares with Caroline Garcia. Pliskova has reached the final once in Wimbledon and US Open, at Roland Garros and the Australian Open she has reached the last four.
In the 2017 season, she reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, US Open and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon. She became the world number one in July that year and held onto the position for 4 weeks till August. Pliskova has been in the top ten since 2017 until this year in June she was ranked 13 but came back into the top ten in a few weeks and now is ranked no 4.
Alexander Zverev 6 titles this season paves way for big targets in 2022
(Tennis news) Alexander Zverev has been a regular in the top ten rankings of the ATP for the past four years. The 24 year old has been winning at least one title since 2016, his breakthrough year was 2017 where he won 5 titles including two Masters 1000 events. In 2018, he kept on winning as he picked up 4 titles and his biggest title which was the Nitto ATP Finals.
Zverev won 6 titles this year, the most by a player on ATP this season. He won two Masters 1000 titles, gold at Tokyo Olympics and also finished with a second title at the year end championships. Zverev also picked up 300th career win this season at Vienna in October and finished with 59 victories, one less than his personal best of 60 wins in 2018.
The right hander is one of the most promising next gen players. He stopped Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics which denied the Serbian the elusive gold and also defeated Djokovic again at the semifinals of the year end championship. Zverev is a baseliner who has a steady backhand and a powerful serve which is a hard to combat mixture in hard courts. Zverev has won titles in clay and hard courts with only grass remaining in his bucket list.
Zverev reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time last year at the Australian Open and reached the finals of the US Open. This year he reached the semifinals at Roland Garros and the US Open. He has been struggling in grass courts since beginning, at Wimbledon he has not progressed beyond the fourth round.
Zverev can target the grass courts next year as he has accomplished himself as a top player to beat in clay and hard courts. With his defense and control on court, he can land titles at grass too. Zverev has two runner up finishes at Halle and beat Roger Federer in the semifinals five years back. He will also look to win his first Grand Slam title in the 2022 season as he has been reaching the last four stages continuously over the past two years, the last German to win a Grand Slam in the ATP tour was Michael Stich at WImbledon in 1991.
Zverev will begin his quest at the 2022 Australian Open, he will look to follow Boris Becker as he has won the most Grand Slams for a German player on the ATP tour. Steffi Graff had won 22 Grand Slams which is the most by a German player and Angelique Kerber was the last German to win a Grand Slam in 2018 again at Wimbledon. History has been kind to Germany in grass and it might change Zverev’s fortune next season.
Hebert and Mahut receive doubles honors as Karatsev wins improved player
(Tennis news) The ATP announced the winners in two more categories on Wednesday as Aslan Karatsev won the most improved player of the year award and the doubles pair of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won the Fans’ Favorite doubles team.
Aslan Karatsev had a breakthrough season by becoming the first man in the Open Era to reach a semifinal on his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open. He started the year ranked 112 and reached his career best of 15 in November, he is currently ranked 18. Karatsev won titles at Moscow and Dubai, he also reached the finals at Belgrade. Karatsev had won 34 matches this year and reached the third round at the US Open. He last played at the Davis Cup, partnering with Karen Khachanov against Germany in the doubles match and last played a singles match at Paris Masters 1000 where lost the opening match to Sebastian Korda.
Karatsev had immense success in singles but in doubles he was ranked 422 at the start of the season and now is ranked 91. He won the doubles title at Doha with Andrey Rublev and the pair reached the finals at Indian Wells.
“I am really happy to win this award,” Karatsev said. “It means a lot to me and I am really happy to get this. Thank you very much.”
The doubles pair of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut won the Fans’ Favorite doubles team of the year award. The pair had reached 5 finals this year, they won three of them including the Nitto ATP finals and the Roland Garros title. They became the eighth pair to complete the career by winning the 2019 Australian Open and have been playing together since 2015.
“Just want to thank all of you who voted for us,” said Mahut. “Winning on the court is a personal accomplishment, but receiving the Fans’ Favorite Award is a different kind of pride. Pierre-Hugues and I are very touched and hope to share some great moments next year together and with you. Thanks again and see you next year.”
Herbert added: “It’s the first time we've won this award. We had an amazing year and we’re so happy and so proud about it. We hope to be back next year, enjoying on the court and on the ATP Tour.”
Mackenzie McDonald and Marcus Daniell win ATP player awards
(Tennis news) Mackenzie McDonald won the ATP comeback player of the year award after a career defining performance over the last 12 months. The 26 year old suffered a hamstring injury at Roland Garros in 2019 while playing doubles as he was out for seven months, he needed surgery after which he couldn’t walk for a month and in 2020 he was ranked 270 in the first quarter of the season. He slowly made his way up as he started this year ranked 194 and now is ranked 55 to complete a fighting comeback.
Mackenzie reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the second time at this year’s Australian Open and lost to Daniil Medvedev in straight sets. Mackenzie had reached the fourth round in his first appearance at Wimbledon in 2018, he reached the finals at Washington defeating Benoit Paire and Kei Nishikori on the way. At the US Open, he defeated David Goffin in the 1st round but lost to Nishikori in a five setter in the second round. Mackenzie last played in november at Stockholm Open losing to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the opening match.
“It’s extremely rewarding. For me it’s a massive accomplishment, honestly. At the end of the year I was hoping I was going to be nominated, I got that and then actually winning it is really cool for me,” McDonald said. “It was a really big comeback and I feel like I put in all the hard work. When I was going through the rehab process I did everything I possibly could to get myself back”.
Doubles player Marcus Daniell received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian award for his service through his organization High Impact Athletes. It is an organization which connects athletes and the general public with the most effective, evidence-based charities in the world. Daniell founded the organization in November last year and now has several fellow athletes helping him. Marcus had the idea of donating to charity for a few years and now has decided to donate 10 percent of his earnings to effective organizations for life. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Joe Salisbury, John Millman, Rajeev Ram and many more have pledged to donate certain parts of their earnings to the organization.
“When I was told I was this year’s Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award recipient I was blown away. It is incredibly humbling to look down the list of previous recipients and see who has received this honour. Their many accomplishments both on and off the court are staggering” said Daniell.
“My journey in philanthropy began in 2015. It was the first year I focussed on doubles and it was also the first year I made money playing tennis. I was able to put some savings away in the bank at the end of the year and with that little bit of financial security came this really strong urge to give back”.
Rafael Nadal and Domnic Thiem look to start strong in 2022 season
(Tennis news) The 2022 season is only 23 days away as many stars had to take leave early this season due to injuries. Bianca Andreescu, Serena Williams and Roger Federer have already said that they won’t be playing the Australian Open next year. The calendar for next also has seen some changes in the order of events as it is tightly packed especially in the first half with the inclusion of the ATP Cup. Many top players did not play the entire 2021 season and given below are the top four players who withdrew early from the ATP tour this year.
Federer has only played 13 matches this year with Wimbledon being his last tournament. The 20 time Grand Slam winner is 40 years old and one of the oldest players on tour. He underwent a third knee surgery in August after having two of them done last year. He also won’t be playing at the 2022 Australian Open and will mostly return mid season. He is currently ranked 16 having last won a title two years ago in Basel.
Nadal played 29 matches this year and lost just five of them. He last played at Washington, losing to Lloyd Harris in the fourth round and then underwent treatment in his foot as he called off the season. The Spaniard won two titles this year and will next be seen at the Australian Open where he and Novak Djokovic will be battling for a record 21st Grand Slam title.
The 28 year old had a disappointing season having played 18 matches and missing out on the second half of the ATP calendar. Thiem last played at Mallorca Open where he suffered a wrist injury which led him to retire in the first round against Adrian Mannarino. He had won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open last year, becoming the first player born in the 90’s to do so. Thiem is expected to return at the 2022 Australian Open, he was the runner up last year losing to Djokovic.
Wawrinka has a lot to cover next year as his ranking dropped to 64 places and is currently ranked 82 in the world. He played 6 matches this year and was seen at Doha in March after undergoing a surgery on his foot. Wawrinka again had to undergo a surgery in June and his name was not on the list for Australian Open 2022. It is not sure when Wawrinka will make his comeback on tour as the three time Grand Slam champion will be waiting to set loose his backhand on court.
Also read: AITA begins process to identify venue for Davis Cup tie against Denmark
AITA begins process to identify venue for Davis Cup tie against Denmark
New Delhi, Dec 9 (Tennis news) The process to identify the venue for India's next Davis Cup tie against Denmark began on Thursday with the All India Tennis Association (AITA) reaching out to players to know their preferred surface and potential state associations who could host the matches on March 4-5 next year.
India were handed a home tie after three years after the draw pitted them against Denmark for the World Group I tie.
AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar said captain Rohit Rajpal will speak with the players to know what surface they think would be best-suited for the home team.
"We will know in two days' time where we are going to host this tie. Once we know the players' choice for surface, we will see which venue would be best for the purpose," Dhupar told PTI from Indore.
It has been learnt that either Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) or Madhya Pradesh Tennis Association (Indore) can host the tie if the players opt to play on hard courts.
"I feel Delhi will host matches since Delhi has not hosted any big event in recent past. They must be keen to have this tie," said an AITA official.
The Karnataka association is hosting two Challenger events, so it is highly unlikely that the tie will be held in Bengaluru but an official said they can still "consider".
It will be the first tie between the two nations since September 1984 when India won 3-2 at Aarhus.
The two teams have not clashed much as the only other time they played was in 1927 when Denmark whitewashed India 5-0 in the quarterfinal in Copenhagen.
Also Read : Bianca Andreescu and Serena Williams to miss 2022 Australian Open
News Source : PTI
Bianca Andreescu and Serena Williams to miss 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Bianca Andreescu has announced that she will not be competing in the 2022 Australian Open. The 2019 US Open champion said she wants a mental break and will take some time off the tour. She finished her 2021 season ranked No.46.
Bianca also had to miss the 2020 season due to injury, the former World No.4 played her first match after a year at the Australian Open in February. She was the runner up in WTA 1000 Miami Open in March and recorded wins against Garbine Muguruza and Maria Sakkari before retiring in the final against No.1 Ashleigh Barty. Andreescu is the second tennis player after Naomi Osaka to have announced a break in the tour citing mental health as this year the sports players have repeatedly focused on mental health.
"I want to give myself extra time to re-set, recover, and grow from this and continue to inspire by doing charity work, giving back and working on myself because I know by doing this, I will come back stronger than ever”, said Andreescu.
"I will therefore not start my season in Australia this year, but will take some additional time to reflect, train, and be ready for the upcoming 2022 tennis season."
Serena Williams also will not be seen at the Australian Open as she still needs time to recover from injury. The seven time champion also missed out the US Open this year, she last won the Australian Open in 2017 which also was her last Grand Slam title. Serena is only 1 behind Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles and is still a tough competitor in her 26th year on tour.
"While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete," Serena said.
"Melbourne is one of my favorite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year. I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level."
Serena last played a match a few months ago at Wimbledon where she had to retire from the first round due to an injury. She reached the semifinals at the Australian Open and the fourth round at the French Open and totally played 17 matches this year. Bianca played 29 matches this year and her best performance in Grand Slams came at the US Open where she reached the fourth round; she last played at Indian Wells in October.
The US Open this year saw withdrawal of many top players as now the start of the next season has already seen withdrawals. The Australian Open is scheduled to start from 17th January.
Winners of the 2021 WTA Player Awards announced in five categories
(Tennis news) The WTA named winners of the five categories for the 2021 season. Barbora Krejcikova won two awards for her outstanding season as the 25 year old ended the year with Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Carla Suárez Navarro also bid farewell to the sport as she played her 18th and final season on tour.
WTA Player of the Year: World No.1 Ashleigh Barty won the award for the second time as she had won in 2019. This season she had a tour leading five WTA titles. She reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, won her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon and reached the fourth round at the US Open. Barty also won 42 matches while losing only 8 and continued her third consecutive year at the top of the rankings.
WTA Newcomer of the Year: Emma Raducanu undoubtedly won the Newcomer of the Year after making history at the US Open where she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam. Raducanu won all 10 of her matches without dropping a set. She played her first Grand Slam main draw at Wimbledon this season and went on to reach the fourth round as she became the youngest British woman to achieve this feat. Raducanu is currently the world number 19 after climbing over 350 places in a period of six months.
WTA Doubles Team of the Year: The pair of 25 year olds, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won the Award for the second time, as they took the title previously in 2018. In 2021, the Czech duo won the French Open to win their third Grand Slam together, they also won the doubles gold at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and had a perfect end to the season by winning the Doubles Trophy at the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara. They also finished the season as the no 1 ranked doubles team.
WTA Most Improved Player of the Year: Barbora Krejcikova won her second WTA award in 2021 as she earned the WTA Most Improved Player of the Year award. She won her first Grand Slam title in singles at the French Open while also winning the doubles title, Krejcikova also won her first mixed doubles title at the Australian Open with Rajeev Ram. She was ranked 65 at the start of 2021, in November she achieved her career best of rank 3 and is currently ranked no 5. She also became the first player since Karolina Pliskova in 2016 to qualify for the singles and doubles at the year end event.
WTA Comeback Player of the Year: Carla Suárez Navarro’s farewell season was supposed to be last year but the pandemic made her rethink her decision. She had been down with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in September 2020 but overcame cancer and decided to end her career this year. The Spaniard is a 7 time quarterfinalist at the Grand Slams. She ended her career with over 500 wins and was the world no 6 five years ago which remains her career best ranking.
Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire looking to end title drought next season
(Tennis news) The 2021 season saw a lot of next gen players taking the centre stage as the older players struggled to get their form on court. There have been some players who have had a poor run this season which saw their rankings drop and though they are expected to hit back the critics next season, it is a sign of the dominance of the latest sensations on court. Given below are some of the players who couldn't get their mojo up and working.
Fabio Fognini: Italy
The 34 year old is the second oldest in the list but has won the most titles among the four. This season, he finished with 22 wins and 22 losses, his last title came 2 years ago at Monte Carlo Masters 1000. The Italian team was the runner up in the ATP Cup where Fognini won two matches out of four, he lost to Denis Novak of Austria who was ranked 100 at the time. Fognini began the year ranked 17 and ended the season ranked 37. He is known for his comebacks at the Grand Slams and usually has a powerful groundstroke with minor movement but his on court behaviour has been known to create issues. He was the world number 9 two years ago which remains his best till date.
Benoit Paire: France
Paire is known for his backhand drop shots which has a great amount of spin and his powerful forehand return of serve which has been measured upto 183 km/ hour. He has a huge swing for his forehand and a very unorthodox style of play, he is known to play it too casually sometimes. Paire won his last title in 2019 at Lyon and reached the finals at Auckland last year, but this year he hasn't been able to progress beyond the quarterfinals. Paire has played 43 matches this year in which he won 13 of them and was ranked at 28 at the start of the year, now he is in 46th position.
Adrian Mannarino: France
The only left hander in the list, Mannarino has a shorter swing than Fognini in his forehand but is also known for his backhand dropshots from the baseline. Mannarino most famous dropshot was in 2017 at Rome against Pablo Cuevas where he hit a backhand drop shot from the baseline which made a bounce on the other side of the court and spun back into his own court. Mannarino is a crafty left hander, his best finish this year came at Mallorca where he reached the semifinals. His first title came 2 years ago and then reached a final last year which was his 9th career runner up finish. This year he won 14 matches out of the 40 played which resulted in his ranking drop from 34 in the start of the year to 71 by the end of the season.
Grigor Dimitrov: Bulgaria
The only one handed backhand player in the list, Dimitrov played 42 matches this season in which he won 24 of them. His best run came at the Indian Wells where he reached the semifinals defeating Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round. Dimitrov started the year by reaching three consecutive quarterfinals, at the Australian Open he defeated Dominic Thiem in the fourth round even bageling the world number in the third set. After that his best winning streak was 2 matches for a few months until in San Diego and Indian Wells where he reached back to back semifinals. The Bulgarian last won a title in 2017 at the Nitto ATP Finals and last reached a final three years back at Rotterdam. Dimitrov started the year with a ranking of 19 and now is 28th, his career best ranking of 3 came four years back.
Russian team looking stronger than ever with third Davis Cup title
(Tennis news) The Russian team completed a sweep of team title wins with the Davis Cup victory over Croatia in the finals. It had earlier won the ATP Cup in January and tasted success on the WTA tour last month when they won the Billie Jean King Cup for the fifth time. Russia proved why they are now one of the strongest teams in the field as they have four players who are in the top 30 and two in the top five. Croatia could not create tension on the singles tie as they were hoping to catch up in the doubles match but could not hold on for that long.
Andrey Rublev had the momentum from the start of the match against Borna Gojo and got his first break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. The rallies were purely defensive play as there were only a few net points by both players, Borna Gojo looked to come back in the second set as he had won his last three matches and all of them were 200 places above him in rankings. However, this time Borna’s skill just didn’t click against Rublev’s power and his serve, Rublev did not want the match to go into the decider as he had played three of them in the last four matches.
The second set saw both the players holding their serves till the end which invited the tie breaker. Borna started with a double fault as the pressure was getting on his nerves, but he made it 4-4 all after coming down from 4-2 and then hit an ace to make it 5-4 as he was now points away from taking the set. Rublev then hit an outstretched forehand passing shot and then hit another huge forehand to bring matchpoint, a backhand error from Borna gave Russia its firstpoint in the final.
In the second match, Daniil Medvedev was playing Marin Cilic for the second time this year as Medvedev had defeated him in five sets in the 3rd round at Wimbledon. Prior to that they had met at Washington in the quarterfinals which also Medvedev won that too in straight sets. There were a lot of similarities between the two players, both were standing tall at 6 foot 6 inches, their first Grand Slam came at the US Open and also runner up finish at the Australian Open. Although Medvedev did them both this year, Cilic had won the US Open in 2014 and reached the final of the Australian Open in 2018.
Medvedev was the clear favourite as he had won the previous four matches while not dropping a set while Cilic was on a three match losing streak. Cilic had surprisingly lost to world number 283 Zsombor Piros in the second match of the round robin stage and now was facing a must win situation. Medvedev was put in a tense situation as Cilic played his heart out in the opening set, both players held their serve and the tiebreaker saw Cilic taking a 4-2 lead. Medvedev fought back with stupendous defense and had set point at 6-5 which Cilic dismissed by a smash which if missed by a few centimetres would have cost him the set. Medvedev had another set point at 7-6 but a double fault made it 7 all, Medvedev then won the next two points to finally win the set.
In the second set, Medvedev broke Cilic early to take a 4-1 lead as Russia was almost there even though Cilic won the next game by pushing his limits. Medvedev then increased his winners tally as Cilic began hitting continuous unforced errors as Russia took the Davis Cup after a 15 year wait.
Russia defeated Croatia 2-0
Rublev defeated Borna 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), Medvedev defeated Cilic 7-6 (9-7), 6-2.
Aslan Karatsev is the latest addition to the Russian powerhouse
(Tennis news) Aslan Karatsev had three tour level victories before playing this year and now he has ended with 37 career wins. He started the season at No. 112 in the rankings and is currently ranked 18. The 28-year-old Russian created a sensation by reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open as a qualifier, becoming the first man in the open era to reach the last four in a Grand Slam debut. He defeated Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Grigor Dimitrov on his way to the semifinal where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
Karatsev is a right hander with a two handed backhand, his aggressive style makes him lethal in hardcourts. Since he is a risk taker in most of the matches the unforced errors are winners are more. Karatsev hits the ball flat but hard down the court and at times finishes with a well set up volley. He takes the ball on the rise and does not give the opponent much time to move around the court. Karatsev is not the fastest mover on the court but has groundstrokes from both the ends which can give him winners.
While winning the title in Dubai, Karatsev earned his second top 10 win when he defeated Andrey Rublev in the semifinals. His biggest win came at Belgrade where he defeated Novak Djokovic to reach the final and lost in the final to Matteo Berrettini. He also beat Daniil Medvedev in their only career meeting at Rome Masters 1000 in the third round, Karatsev had a 16-3 win/loss record on hard courts in the first quarter of the season. In the next 12 events, he failed to reach the quarterfinals until at San Diego where lost to Dimitorv in the last eight and then won at Moscow defeating Marin Cilic in the final.
Karatsev is nominated in the most improved player of the year along with Carlos Alcaraz, Cameron Norrie and Casper Ruud. Karatsev is the oldest of the four as he is 28 but along with two singles titles and a runner up, he also won one doubles title at Doha along with a runner up finish in Indian Wells all with Andrey Rublev. The ATP cup was also won by Russia where Karatsev played in the doubles but lost all the three matches he played.
Karatsev is currently playing doubles at the Davis Cup for Russia and has won all the three matches he has played so far with Rublev. Russia will be playing against Germany today in the semifinals of the Davis Cup and will look to win a third title. It has been a great year for Russian tennis fans as there are two players in the top five and a total of four players in the top 30.
Russia seals semifinal spot with victory over Sweden in Davis Cup
(Tennis news) Russia seems to be having no trouble as of now as they only needed 3 hours to beat Sweden for a place in the semifinal of the Davis Cup. Russia didn’t have to play the third rubber as the doubles team can get the maximum rest, Andrey Rublev looked a bit out of form in the second and third set in the opening match as he was stretched by Elias Ymer who is 166 places below him. In the second match, Daniil Medvedev beat Mikael Ymer in just over an hour as Mikael even broke the World number 2 a couple of times but did not pose a major issue.
The results were as expected in both the matches but Rublev survived a scare in the second and third set. In the first set, Elias was aided by huge forehands as he took a 2-1 lead but an unforced error in the 4th game prevented him from breaking Rublev who seized the opportunity with 5 consecutive games to take the set. In the second set, Rublev was down 0-2 as Elias played like a top 50 player with quality groundstrokes to keep the Russian camp at bay.
Rublev leveled the scores with powerful serves and even went on to take a 5-3 lead as victory was just a game away but Elias took the next four games to take the set. Elias even hit service return winners as Rublev had no answer in the last few rallies of the set, Elias tested Rublev even more in the final set as both players held their serves which called for a tie breaker. In the tie break it was Rublev who had a good start and kept the momentum going his ball striking made Elias exhausted. With a backhand unforced error, it was the end of the first tie as Rublev secured victory as Russia got its first point of the match.
In the second match Medvedev faced Mikael who has been quite a player this year with a runner up finish at Winston Salem and had defeated Frances Tiafoe, Albert Ramos Vinolas on the way. Mikael also defeated Carlos Alcaraz twice this year and reached the third round at French Open and Australian Open. But in the tie against Medvedev, Mikael was down 1-3 in the first set until he won the next three games to take a one game lead over him. Medevedev took the next game to seal the first set and in the second set saw Mikael down with a 0-3 lead. Mikael fought back with two back to back games with frequent visits to the net which worked well and in the end Medvedev raced for a third straight win at the event.
Russia defeated Sweden 2-0
Rublev defeated Elias 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(7-3), Medvedev defeated Mikael 6-4, 6-4.
The first semi final will take place today between Serbia and Croatia. Serbia had to play all the three matches against Kazakhstan in the quarterfinal as Novak Djokovic won the singles and doubles to confirm the semi final place. Miomir Kecmanović will play a major part as his victory will give the team enough confidence as Djokovic showed his supremacy in the previous match and will be able to do it again. As for Croatia, their doubles team of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic have won the last three matches but will need Marin Cilic to be in form and Borna Gojo will have to play like how he played against Italy. Predicted score is 2-0 or 2-1 for Serbia.
Also read: Novak Djokovic wins back to back matches to push Serbia into the semifinals at Davis Cup, Russia faces Sweden in quarterfinals
Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic hoping for a good start to 2022 season
(Tennis news) Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic dominated the doubles season with nine titles this season. They played together for the first time from january and found success right from the start.
They played 74 matches this year while winning 61 of them and also are the current world number one. They last played at the Nitto ATP Finals and lost in the semifinals to Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. They are currently playing at the Davis Cup for Croatia and will play a crucial factor in the semifinal as they will be up against higher ranked teams in the singles tie.
Mektic and Pavic won 56 of their first 61 matches in 2021, including titles at Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and three Masters 1000 events. Mektic has won 17 ATP doubles titles with seven different partners including six Masters 1000s and last year's ATP Finals with Wesley Koolhof. Pavic won the Australian Open with Oliver Marach three years back and the United States Open with Bruno Soares last year.
“I think it would have been just a matter of time if it didn’t happen at the beginning of this year. In the future, I’m pretty sure one day we would have eventually played together,” Pavic said. “It happened at the end of last year and now we’re here.”
“We are ready for it. We are ready to lose,” Mektic said. “We just keep playing our games and try to keep our heads down and do what we do. If somebody’s better, if somebody deserves to win that day, we say ‘well done’ and we keep on going.”
Doubles requires extreme hand eye coordination, quick reflexes and volley skills as rallies are usually short. A good one necessitates regular dialogue, flexibility, awareness, and the ability to work under crisis. Magic happens when it works, Mektic and Pavic started their partnership by winning the first 12 matches before losing in the Australian Open semifinals. From June to August, they went on an 18 match winning streak.
Only Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have won at least ten tour-level titles in a single season over the past two decades. They did it four times, with their best season coming in 2010 where they won 12 titles. Apart from Mektic and Pavic, Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in 2009 were the only other team to win nine trophies as they had nine in 2009. Mektic and Pavic will now look to go beyond the Bryan brothers next season as there are 50 more days for the Australian Open to begin.
Roger Federer likely to be ruled out of the Australian Open says coach Ivan Ljubicic
(Tennis news) 20 time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer is unlikely to participate in the Australian Open as the Swiss tennis star continues to recuperate from his knee surgery. The 40 year old has not featured in any tournaments since losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals this year.
Speaking to Stats Perform, Federer’s coach Ivan Ljubicic said “I think there are very few chances, he is still recovering and knowing him, he wants to be sure he can play to win the tournament and be at 100 percent. So I think the Australian Open is not a real possibility right now. But he will go step by step because he is 40 years old now and he needs to be patient. He cannot recover as quickly as he used to.”
The trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are tied with 20 Grand Slams each and are vying to become the most successful men's singles Grand Slam champion of all time. As things stand, only Nadal is a confirmed participant at the Australian Open with Djokovic refusing to confirm or deny his attendance until Tennis Australia reveals the health protocols of the tournament.
The Australian government has revealed that they will allow unvaccinated players to compete at the Grand Slam tournament provided they undergo 14 days of quarantine and negotiations between Tennis Australia and the government are currently ongoing about the health protocols of the tournament. Djokovic has declined to disclose his vaccination status and has said it’s doubtful he will participate in the Australian Open.
ICC must make sure there is level-playing field: Gavaskar
New Delhi, Nov 15 (Cricket news) The advantage teams have had batting second in the just-concluded T20 World Cup is something the ICC can look into to ensure a level-playing field, Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar said on Monday.
In the T20 showpiece that concluded in the UAE on Sunday with Australia's triumph over New Zealand in the title clash, teams batting second have won almost all their matches, including the semifinals and the final.
"The commentators were saying that the dew factor wasn't there today so I don't think it really came into play that much in this game but I think it has in the previous games and maybe that is something that needs to be looked at," Gavaskar told Sports Today.
"But you may also say that if the group matches are played at the same time then why change for the knockouts.
"But again, I feel that it is something for the ICC Cricket Committee to get their heads around and make sure that there is a level playing field for both teams," said Gavaskar.
Ravi Shastri and Bharat Arun, who were India's head coach and bowling coach respectively in the tournament, spoke about the dew factor after the team's group stage exit.
As many as 29 out of 45 matches in the tournament were won by teams batting second.
Speaking about Australian opener David Warner, Gavaskar said he will be one of the most sought-after players at the IPL auction, months after being stripped of captaincy and dropped by his franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad in the last edition of the event after a run of poor scores.
However, Warner roared back to form in the T20 World Cup and played a pivotal role in Australia's triumph. It was no surprise that he walked away with the Player-of-the-Tournament award after aggregating 289 runs in seven matches.
"Definitely (he will be one of the sought-after players). Don't forget that there are two new teams as well. Don't forget the experience he brings, he brings in leadership qualities as well.
"This is a format made for him. He is so energetic on the field. He would definitely be right at the top of people wanted by the two new teams or any other team because it doesn't look that SunRisers are going to retain him," Gavaskar said.
Also Read : No Indian included in ICC's 'Team of Tournament' as Babar named 'captain'
News Source : PTI
T20 WC Final: Trans-Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand lock horns in battle of contrasting styles
Dubai, Nov 13 (Cricket news) The fiestiness of Australia will clash with the tactical shrewdness of a perennially understated New Zealand when the Trans-Tasman rivals battle for their maiden T20 World Cup trophy here on Sunday.
Considering how both Australia and New Zealand won their respective semifinals against fancied opponents, one can expect another dramatic finish at the "Ring of Fire".
Australia, who have won a record five World Cup titles in 50-over cricket, have surprisingly not got their hands on the T20 showpiece.
New Zealand, on the other hand, have always been consistent in ICC events but now seem to have the self-belief of going all way under Kane Williamson's astute leadership.
It will be their first T20 World Cup final and if they do end up winning it, it will be a remarkable achievement for a country of five million which keeps churning out world-class players.
Australia hold the upper-hand over the reigning world Test champions in overall T20 meetings but the Black Caps won their only meeting in the World Cup back in the 2016 edition in India.
Their last meeting in a World Cup final, in the 50-over format in 2015, was bossed by the Aussies, who have not won an ICC event since then.
Fans of both the teams will have to work against their body clock to watch the game from their TV sets with the final starting well past midnight in both the countries.
New Zealand, who have been the best bowling side of the group stage, showed their batting class in the semifinals against pre-tournament favourites.
Martin Guptill enjoys a good record against Australia in T20s and his opening partner Daryl Mitchell goes into the final having played the innings of his life.
Skipper Kane Williamson is due for a big score and expect him to rise to the occasion on Sunday.
Jimmy Neesham proved his value in the middle-order against England but New Zealand will miss the services of Devon Conway who punched his bat in frustration after getting dismissed in the semifinal and ended up breaking his right hand. Tim Seifert is set to replace him.
The seasoned pace duo of Tim Southee and Trent Boult will be expected to keep Australian openers Aaron Finch and David Warner quiet in the powerplay.
Adam Milne has also done a decent job as the third pacer and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi has been impressive in the middle overs.
Finch, who could do little with fast inswingers of Shaheen Shah Afridi the other night, will be looking to add to his 251 runs against New Zealand, the most by an Aussie batter against the Kiwis.
In his last two innings, Warner has shown class is permanent and form is temporary and trust him to fire in the all important final. More is expected from Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith who are yet to make a big impact in the tournament.
Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade pulling off a remarkable chase against Pakistan makes the Australians better prepared for another close finish.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who was taken 12 wickets at 10.91 average in the tournament, will be expected to deliver in the middle overs once again while Maxwell can also chip in with his off spin.
The envious pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will be playing their first T20 against New Zealand. Hazlewood had an off night against Pakistan and will be itching to bounce back.
Teams (from): Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner, Adam Zampa New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Adam Milne, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee.
Match starts 7.30 PM IST.
Alsso Read : For greater success as batsman, Kohli should give up captaincy in all formats: Afridi
News Source : PTI
British tennis player Emma Raducanu confirms Torben Beltz will be her new coach
(Tennis news) US Open champion Emma Raducanu has confirmed that 44 year old German Torben Beltz will be her new coach for the 2022 season, starting with the Australian Open that begins on January 17th. The 18 year old parted ways with Andrew Richardson following her triumph at the Flushing Meadows and has been on a hunt for a more experienced coach since.
Speaking after her defeat to China’s Wang Xinyu in Linz, Emma Raducanu said “It's obviously a great privilege to be working with such an experienced coach. I'm definitely very excited to work with him throughout the pre-season and into next year so things are looking up and it's a very, very positive feeling, very excited about all the work that is to come. He brings a lot of experience.
“He's obviously worked with Kerber who is such a great player and has done extremely well and won three Slams and I think that experience definitely helps with someone as inexperienced as me so he can help guide me through, which I feel really confident about. Also he's a really positive, cheerful guy who brings great energy to the team so I think that's also important when you're travelling on the road for quite a long time on the tour."
Having previously been a long term coach for Angelique Kerber, Torben Beltz is known for his likeable and compassionate personality rather than being a hard taskmaster. He was Kerber’s coach for a decade and helped her reach the top 10 rankings before their first split in 2013. However, the pair was reunited for the majority of the 2016 season when Kerber won the Australian Open, US Open, reached the Wimbledon finals, won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics and finished the season as World No. 1.
Their second split came in 2017 when Kerber replaced Beltz with Wim Fissette, winning the Wimbledon title that year. Meanwhile, Beltz worked with Croatian Donna Vekic, helping her reach the top 20 for the first time. Beltz was reunited with Kerber again last year, reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals and returning to the top 10 for a short time. The 33 year old confirmed this week that she had parted ways with Beltz yet again with the German teaming up with Raducanu for the 2022 season.
Aryna Sabalenka looking for first WTA finals Trophy win, Karolina Pliskova into her fifth attempt
(Tennis news) The Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara draw came out today as the top eight players of the season will battle each other for the season ending trophy. With the withdrawal of defending champion and world number one Ashleigh Barty, the field is set to host a first time winner this year. Iga Swiatek is the youngest in the field as she is 20 years old and Karolina Pliskova at 29 is the oldest in the draw. Paula Badosa, Anett Kontaveit, Barbora Krejcikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari and Iga Swiatek are making their debut this year as Pliskova and Garbiñe Muguruza are the only ones who have participated earlier. The top four players to watch out for this time are given below.
Sabalenka is the top seed in the draw as she is the world number two. She started with a title victory at Abu Dhabi and also won the title at Madrid where she even bageled Barty in the final. Sabalenka also reached the semifinals at the US Open and Wimbledon while she fell at the fourth round of the Australian Open. French Open was the only slam where she made a exit before the fourth round exit, Sabalenka can finish out points in quickly and had excellent returns in the US Open.
With 45 victories and three titles, Barbora has been on top form the whole season. She is the only player this year to qualify in the doubles and singles at the WTA finals, Barbora won the French Open singles title along with the doubles title and also won the mixed doubles at the Australian Open. With her volley skills, Barbora has an attacking mode in the hardcourts and can trigger upsets in the draw.
Pliskova is the most experienced player in the draw as she makes her fifth consecutive attempt at the event. She has reached the last four since 2017 and will be eager to conclude the year with a title. Although she has not won any titles this year, Pliskova is currently leading the aces leaderboard with 364 aces this season. She reached the final at Wimbledon and reached the quarterfinals at the US Open. Pliskova will use her serve and is an efficient mover in the court who has one of the smoothest strokes on tour.
Anett had a magical run since August as she won four titles in the seven events she played and only lost two matches ever since. She has won 45 matches this year with 15 losses and became the first Estonian player to enter the top 10 in WTA. Anett is the one in form as she has won the last two titles which she entered.
Golden Slam winner Dylan Alcott announces retirement after Australian Open 2022
(Sports news) Para-athlete Dylan Alcott, one of Australia’s greatest ever tennis players has announced his intention to retire after the Australian Open 2022. The 30 year old became the first man to win the golden slam in any form of tennis by winning all four major titles and the Paralympic gold medal in Tokyo. He intends to end his career on home turf at Melbourne Park in January, making one final appearance in his hometown where he has won seven quad singles titles in as many years.
“There’s no way I could finish my career a few weeks ago because the US Open was not my home,” Alcott said. “This is my home and the Australian Open changed my life. What better way to finish than in my home in front of crowds. I’ve known this day was coming for a while,” he said. “It’s been an incredible ride and I think the time has come to move onto other things that I do. In saying that, I’m going to train my arse off for the next two months and try to go out on a high. The time has come, I feel redundant, I feel old, washed up,” he said. “It’s the next generation’s turn to dominate and get the recognition they deserve. I’m really looking forward to getting out there and doing my thing one more time. We will see what happens. I’m just enjoying the moment.”
To say that Dylan Alcott has had an illustrious career would be an understatement, the Australian has won 15 Grand Slam singles titles, eight Grand Slam doubles titles as well as four Paralympic gold and two silver medals. In September, Alcott won the US Open for the third time, adding to his two Wimbledon titles and three French Open victories. Alcott was born with a tumor on his spinal cord with a subsequent surgery resulting in never being able to walk. Despite his exploits on the tennis court, Alcott is also a supremely talented basketball player, winning the Paralympic gold and silver medals with Australia and he is also a radio DJ and television commentator.
Alcott is also an outspoken advocate for the rights of people with disability and has used his success to bring focus to a variety of issues such as mental health. The 30 year old has previously admitted to being bullied while growing up and said “I used to hate myself so much. I hated my disability. I didn't even want to be here any more. I found tennis and it changed and saved my life.” The 30 year old will undoubtedly hope to clinch his eighth Australian Open title in the final tournament of his inspiring and magnificent career.
October 31: 27th year on tour for former world number one and multiple Grand Slam winner Venus Williams
(Tennis news) Venus Williams has been on the professional tour for a very long time, she entered the tennis circuit as a 14 year old. On October 31st 1997, a 14 year old was facing the then world number 2 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario at Oakland in the round of 16 and even took the first set against Arantxa and went on to lose the match in three sets.
Venus had made an impression on tour very early as a teenager and played the world’s best without thinking twice. She is known for her record breaking serves and super fast groundstrokes and is an aggressive hard court player. She also covers the court well and can hit winners from deep behind the court as well as from the net as she is also a top class doubles player. Williams is also one of the tallest players in the WTA tour as she stands 6 feet one inch tall which explains her serve which goes upto 208 km/ hour.
Venus has won the Wimbledon singles five times, US Open twice while reaching the finals of Australian Open twice and French Open once. She has also won the doubles crown at all the Grand Slams at least twice and also has two mixed Grand Slams titles. She also has three doubles gold medals, one singles gold and one mixed doubles silver at the Olympics. The Williams sisters were one of the main reasons for the entry of power packed games into the WTA tour as they hit mean groundstrokes with fearsome serves.
Venus was diagnosed with Sjögren's syndrome in 2011 which brought a surprise end to her season but came back next year on tour but had to end the 2013 season early due to a back injury. Her longevity has been beyond understanding as she continues to play with people half her age. Venus has also openly advocated for equal prize money in Grand Slams and was a major factor in bringing equal play for men and women at Wimbledon in 2007.
Venus is currently recovering from a leg injury and was last seen at the Chicago Open where she lost in the opening round to Hsieh Su-wei in straight sets. The 41 year old has played 12 matches this year as she played only one tournament after Wimbledon. She is supposed to return on tour next year as she did not play the US Open due to an injury like her sister, Serena Williams.
India need to find right balance and not rely too much on Bumrah: Muralitharan
Dubai, Oct 29 (Cricket news) Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan says India's attack is over "reliant" on pacer Jasprit Bumrah and they must find the "right balance" by adding a spinner and getting Hardik Pandya to bowl a few overs in the ongoing T20 World Cup.
Indian bowlers couldn't take a single wicket in their campaign opener as Pakistan opening batters Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam chased down a 152-run target with ease to notch up a 10-wicket win, their first over India in a World Cup match.
"The team which concerns me in that regard (bowling) is India. Jasprit Bumrah is a match-winner but they look a bit reliant on him at the moment on the bowling side," Muralitharan wrote in his column in ICC.
India went with three pacers against Pakistan and Muralitharan feels skipper Virat Kohli can consider including Ravichandran Ashwin in the playing XI and get few overs from all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has played purely as a batsman in the first game.
"They could do with a leg spinner in the team, or maybe Ravichandran Ashwin. It might be a case of going down to two fast bowlers and relying on Hardik Pandya to bowl.
"It is about finding the right balance and not relying too much on Bumrah." Muralitharan, who is considered to be one of the greatest ever to play the game with 800 Test and 534 ODI wickets, feels Pakistan are best placed to win the title.
"When it comes to the team in the best position though, I think Pakistan are looking good because they have already beaten the two strongest teams in their group in India and New Zealand.
"They have so much talent, which has always been the case, but like the West Indies, in the past they used to have those off days where they played really badly." Pakistan, the 2009 champions, are unbeaten in the tournament so far.
"This team feels different. I am not sure where it has come from but they have momentum and a world-class bowling attack," the Sri Lankan wrote.
"The batting is built around Babar Azam, who is their one world-class batter, but then there is the experience of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez who have been playing 15 years of international cricket, as well as some good youngsters. Traditionally they have not been a strong fielding team, but that has changed as well." Muralitharan believes the appointment of former Australian opener Matthew Hayden as a batting coach has helped the team immensely.
"The biggest thing for them though, has been the input of Matthew Hayden. He really understands the game from his playing days and it feels like has been a great advisor for the team. That is a big factor in how good they look," he wrote.
The 49-year-old Sri Lankan also lavished praise on Pakistan's bowling attack.
"One thing that has been clear at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 is that the best teams have strong bowling attacks.
"Pakistan have been dangerous because of the pace of Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi. They can bowl at more than 140kmh, bowling yorkers and slower balls.
"The extra pace makes a big difference in these conditions and then it is about the spinners who can stick to a line and length." Muralitharan was also impressed with the Afghanistan spin duo of Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan, who skittled out Scotland for 60 during their opening match.
"I have been amazed by the Afghanistan spinners, they have been the pick of the bowlers so far for me," he said.
"It is true that they were perhaps playing one of the weaker teams but the way Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan bowled against Scotland was incredible – the batters were mesmerised.
"If they can bowl like that in other matches, then they can be a real threat." A member of the 1996 50-over World Cup winning team, Muralitharan said the Afghanistan team reminds him "a bit of Sri Lanka when we won the 50-over ICC Men’s World Cup in 1996." "When I think back to 1996, we had a lot of experienced batters and then some good young bowlers. The conditions helped us, we were very strong at home throughout the 1990s and we knew how to play the conditions. It was not a fluke, we had the talent," he wrote.
"The same is true of Afghanistan, you have Mohammad Nabi who has been playing for a long time and then some promising young batters – Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz did well against Scotland.
"That is without even considering the spinners. In the shorter form, they have a lot of experience from playing franchise cricket. So I do not see why they cannot be dark horses in this tournament."
Also Read : Kohli slips one slot to 5th, KL Rahul loses two spots to 8th in ICC T20 batter rankings
News Source :PTI
Warner does a Ronaldo, jokingly removes coca cola bottles during press conference
Dubai, Oct 29 (Cricket news) Star Australian opener David Warner did a Cristiano Ronaldo during the ongoing T20 World Cup here as he removed Coca Cola bottles placed in front of him during a press conference for a brief while.
Just before the start of the press conference after he guided Australia to a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka here on Thursday, Warner grabbed the two soft drink bottles lying in front of him and said with a smile, "Can I remove these? Though I have to put it there." "If it's good enough for Cristiano, it's good enough for me. That's right," he added while putting the two bottles back.
Ronaldo's act of removing the soft drink during a European Championships press conference reportedly cost the global beverage giant a whopping USD 4 billion.
The footage of Warner removing the bottles attracted considerable social media attention but any financial fallout is not known yet.
A well-known fitness enthusiast, Ronaldo set aside two Coca-Cola glass bottles which lay in front of him during a press conference ahead of Portugal''s opening Euro match against Hungary.
The 36-year-old striker picked up a bottle of water saying "Agua!" in Portuguese, seemingly urging people to choose water over aerated drinks.
The 35-year-old Warner, who has gone through a lean patch, was back in his elements on Thursday as his sizzling 42-ball 65, which had 10 fours, made it easy for Australia to chase down the target of 155 in only 17 overs.
It was Australia's second win in as many Super 12 games and they look like a strong contender apart from England in the group to move into the semifinals.
Warner was involved in two solid partnerships, -- 70 in 6.5 overs with skipper Aaron Finch (37 off 23 balls) and another 50 in 6.3 overs with former skipper Steve Smith (28 not out off 26 balls).
Also Read : I am not racist: Quinton de Kock says fine with taking knee, available to play for SA
News Source : PTI
Will put my name in IPL auction, confirms Warner as he awaits answers on being sidelined by SRH
Melbourne, Oct 28 (Cricket news) Australian opener David Warner will put himself back into the IPL auction pool as he doesn't expect Sunrisers Hyderabad to retain him ahead of the 2022 season.
Warner, who captained Sunrisers to their maiden title in 2016, was not picked for the final six games of the 2021 season in the UAE. He was already stripped of captaincy during the India leg of the IPL.
"I will put my name in the auction. By the signs of the recent IPL, I won't be retained by the Sunrisers, so I'm looking forward to a fresh start," Warner told SEN radio.
Warner said being left out of the Sunrisers playing XI was a "tough pill to swallow".
"I kind of laughed at the reasoning, that two guys were hitting the ball out of the middle a little bit better than I was. Given that when you're playing the game you're playing the scenario.
"Obviously there are a lot of moving parts around there. What you have to do as a professional athlete is take it on the chin and do everything you can for the team.
"Not being able to go there, run drinks and be around was when it sort of hit home that it could be personal, and I'm still yet to get those answers," said the southpaw who is currently in the UAE with Australia's T20 World Cup squad.
The mega auction is expected to be held in December or January.
Also Read : Proud to leave legacy behind? Still, I haven't left behind, says Dhoni as CSK fans cheer
News Source : PTI
Matteo Berrettini secures ATP finals berth, Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz next in line
(Tennis news) Matteo Berrettini’s sparkling season continued as he qualified for the season ending championship for the second time. The Italian reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and then went even further by reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open. His Wimbledon performance was his first breakthrough in the Grand Slams where he lost in the finals to Novak Djokovic.
This season, Berrettini has had 40 victories in 50 matches. After losing in the quarterfinals of the US Open to Djokovic in September, he climbed to a career-high No. 7 in the ATP Rankings. In April, the Italian won the Serbia Open in Belgrade, defeating Aslan Karatsev of Russia. In May, he reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final, losing to Alexander Zverev of Germany and in June, he won the Cinch Championships in London, defeating Cameron Norrie of Great Britain.
He became the first Italian male tennis player to reach the fourth round of every Grand Slam tournament at the French Open. He has been impressive on all surfaces and excels in a team setting, as he powered Italy to the ATP Cup finals in January. Berrettini, an aggressive all-court player with a booming serve that can reach speeds of 146 mph (235 km/h), blasted his way to the No. 8 ranking in 2021 across all surfaces, the highest for an Italian male in more than four decades. He won two Championships, one on grass and the other on clay.
To finish off points, he uses his attacking groundstrokes and net game, and he has been known to serve-and-volley. Many have compared him to Fernando González and Juan Martin del Potro because of his aggressive style, which is based on huge serves and forehands. His play style has earned him the moniker "The Hammer."
“My words aren’t going to describe the happiness I feel in my heart," said the world number seven. “2020 was a tough year for me on and off the court. Here I am about to play my second ATP Finals and I can’t believe it.
“I always have to remember where I started. I didn’t dream about this, because it was so big, but now it’s happening. I want to do my best."
Berrettini will compete at the ATP Finals against world number one Novak Djokovic, U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, and Andrey Rublev, with Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz next in line.
Also read: Unvaccinated tennis stars will be allowed to compete at the Australian Open after fulfilling two weeks hard quarantine and regular testing
Unvaccinated tennis stars will be allowed to compete at the Australian Open after fulfilling two weeks hard quarantine and regular testing
(Tennis news) Unvaccinated players are set to be granted a visa for participation at the Australian Open, provided they fulfill two weeks of hard quarantine at a hotel and undergo regular testing throughout the duration of the event. This update comes after political leaders from federal and state governments had stated last week that players who have not received two doses of a recognized vaccine will not be allowed to compete at the first Grand Slam of the year.
Reports by the New York Times and Melbourne’s The Age newspaper revealed leaked contents of an email from WTA to its Players Council which revealed that only unvaccinated players will be made to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The email reportedly said “We feel the need to reach out to you all to clear up false and misleading information that has recently been spread by other parties about the conditions that players will be forced to endure at next year's Australian Open. We have been communicating regularly with... the Tennis Australia team in recent months and they shared some good news with us on our Players Council call last Friday so that you know the facts."
The conditions for the players are set to improve significantly as the state of Victoria will achieve a 90% vaccination target of the adult population by the end of next month. Tennis Australia has been working with the government to ensure the protocols are in place before players are expected to arrive from December 1st. A statement said “Everyone has been buoyed by the easing of restrictions over the past week. We are optimistic that we can hold the Australian Open as close to pre-pandemic conditions as possible."
Sports Minister of Victoria state Martin Pakula has reassured that a decision would be made about the requirements of unvaccinated players well in advance to ensure they can make the necessary preparations for the Grand Slam tournament. Pakula said “The main point still to be resolved between the tournament organisers and government is the question whether unvaccinated foreign nationals will be allowed into Australia at all and, if so, under what circumstances.”
Australia is set to reopen its international borders for the first time in 18 months starting next month on a state by state basis, depending on the vaccination rates. Visitors who are fully vaccinated will be subjected to fewer restrictions. Earlier this year, the US Open required all spectators to show proof of at least one vaccination jab with no compulsory vaccination for players. However, both the men and women’s tour have recommended players to get the two jabs but have not enforced it as a rule.
The decision to allow unvaccinated players to participate in the Australian Open will come as a boost for Novak Djokovic’s hopes to participate in the Grand Slam as the Serbian has previously advocated that taking a vaccine should be a personal choice and he would be a doubt for the tournament if compulsory vaccination is required.
World Number 1 Ashleigh Barty withdraws from WTA Finals and concludes 2021 season
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty will not be defending her WTA Finals title in Guadalajara as the 25-year-old has announced her withdrawal from the tournament saying that she is “not willing to compromise my preparation for January” when the Australian Open is due to begin. The World Number 1 won her maiden Grand Slam at the Roland Garros in 2019 and won the Wimbledon title this year.
In a statement released by Barty on Saturday, she said “I wanted to let everyone know that I won't be competing in any further tournaments in 2021, including the WTA Finals in Mexico. It was a difficult decision, but I need to prioritise my body and my recovery from our 2021 season and focus on having the strongest pre-season for the Australian summer.
"With the ongoing challenges of travelling back to Queensland and quarantine requirements, I am not willing to compromise my preparation for January. I wish the WTA team and the players all the best for a successful WTA Finals and rest of the year. My focus is now on the Australian summer and doing everything I can to win the Australian Open. I can't wait to play at home again.”
In 2019, Barty pocketed the biggest check in tennis history of $6.4 million after winning the WTA Finals in Shenzhen. The World Number 1 continues to be the reigning champion as the tournament was cancelled last year and despite her withdrawal from any events for the remainder of the year, Barty will retain her number 1 ranking for the third consecutive season.
Ashleigh Barty returned to her home in Brisbane after her third-round exit at the US Open and the tennis star’s reasoning is also that the 25 year old does not want to endure another two week quarantine in Australia within the last two months as she has been on the road for the majority of the season so far.
Leadership will be key in Indo-Pak clash in T20 World Cup: Hayden
Karachi, Oct 21 (Cricket news) Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden says leadership will be key in the much anticipated India-Pakistan T20 World Cup clash in "dogfight conditions" in Dubai on Sunday.
Terming the match a real dogfight, Hayden who is working with the Pakistan team as batting consultant, margin for error will be very little in the big match so leadership will be the key to the outcome of the match.
Hayden cited examples of MS Dhoni and Eoin Morgan, who led their respective IPL franchises with success when their own individual performances were not at expected levels.
"Their individual performances were not as good as they have previously done as per their statistical records but the way they led their troops and conducted themselves played an important part in their teams reaching the IPL final in UAE conditions," Hayden said in a media interaction.
"I feel leadership will be key in the coming match as conditions in UAE leave very little margin for error and there are dogfight conditions out there." Hayden said Pakistan captain Babar Azam had a role to play in the match as a leader and a premium batter.
"There will be additional pressure on him as captain and batsman because he will be targeted and everyone will be wanting to, like they say, put him in their pocket. Babar has command and presence and he needs to fulfil that role in a batting sense and captain." Hayden also observed that having followed Indian cricket very closely over the years, he believed that KL Rahul and Rishab Pant pose the biggest threat to Pakistan in the match.
"More or less I have watched KL Rahul grow and he is a major threat to Pakistan. I have watched him grow up as a boy. I have seen his struggles and his dominance in shorter formats.
"I have seen someone like Rishab Pant, his brash nature and beautiful vision for the game, how he has destroyed bowling attacks because he has got the opportunity because he sees it that way." The Australian opener also said having watched the various elements of the game and been part of it he can say that nothing matches the rivalry between Pakistan and India.
"For an Australian obviously the Ashes and matches against England are tops but nothing matches the rivalry of these two teams.” Hayden said Pakistan have some wonderful assets that will perform on the given day. He termed Babar, Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman as key players for Pakistan.
Asked about his short-term role as consultant with the Pakistan team, Hayden said his main purpose was to bring calmness and control and telling the players to remain very present in play because World Cups are challenging things.
"I have learnt for whatever reason you are always under pressure, you don't need to create additional pressure to what the game demands."
Also Read : if we don’t get results, we start searching for scapegoats: Misbah
News Source : PTI
Alexander Zverev sets his sight on a record third Masters title of the year
(Tennis news) Alexander Zverev is a powerful baseliner who relies heavily on his first serve to rack up a lot of free points. His strong topspin forehand and flat backhand, as well as his piercing groundstrokes, may put opponents under pressure.
His forehand, on the other hand, may be inconsistent when he is off-color. The German's volleying abilities are also lacking as he struggles to score at the net. While there is no doubt about his technique, Alexander Zverev's mental toughness has room for improvement, as he has lost multiple matches from winning situations. He's still only 24, so there's still time for him to make a significant career change. Another aspect is his performance on the Grand Slams, he reached his first final last year at the US Open.
Zverev has been improving since last year at the Grand Slams, this year he reached the semifinals at the French Open and the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. In Wimbledon, Zverev has failed to reach beyond the fourth round.
Zverev has 47 victories this year so far and with only Paris Masters left this year, he can hope to achieve this record but is not under pressure as he has already qualified for the year end finals. He lost in the quarterfinals at the Indian Wells to Taylor Fritz and even though he had matchpoints, he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the US Open.
"Today was just not really my day, to be honest. I was close to winning, but the level of tennis was just not quite there for me," said Zverev after his loss to Taylor Fritz at Indian Wells.
"Today mentally is not easy for me. My next tournament is in Vienna. Hoping I can deal with it well there, but right now I just want to go home.
"It was a very long season. I have played well. But this one hurts because I knew that after Stefanos lost this morning, I was kind of the favourite to win this tournament, but my tennis wasn't there yet."
In the Masters 1000, Zverev has so far won five titles and only the big four have won more than him. This year he won two titles, he won at Cincinnati and Madrid and looks to be the 10th player to win three or more Masters 1000 titles in a year. With only four weeks to go, the German can prove himself in quick time and by next year he has high chances of holding a Grand Slam trophy.
The race to be world number one, next gen seeks new possibility
(Tennis news) To become the world number one in any sport is a challenge in itself, to be crowned the best of the best and to sit on top is an accomplishment for every athlete. In tennis, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have shared the world number one ranking for a long time. The last time the four of them were not on top was in 2003 when Andy Roddick was the world number one.
This year Daniil Medvedev became the world number two as the last time the big four were not in the number two position was in 2005 when Lleyton Hewitt was number two. Medvedev has a golden chance to secure the world number one ranking if he manages to perform well in the Paris Masters and the year end Championships. Alexander Zverev also has a chance but not this year as he has to cover a huge lead to end up first, he has been one of the most consistent players over the years.
The Grand Slams have been slipping past the veterans as the next gen have been getting their hands on the trophy. Consistency is what keeps the big three on top as Andy Murray is still yet to come back to his old self, age is something that no matter how hard they control it will eventually catch up. This year the injury toll was on the rise and it showed how the curtains will fall for the former champions soon but the next gen should not wait for these players to step out of the game. This year, Djokovic went into the time machine to reach the final of all four slams but there were three different finalists and next year this might not be the case.
With the entry of new players the next gen will need to bring in the consistency card in order to reach the top ranking. In the current set of players, Dominic Thiem has been efficient in clay as well as Stefanos Tsitsipas as Medvedev has been brilliant in hardcourts. Zverev has struggled at the Grand Slams, something which he will need to look upon as the other three have reached the finals and also won slams except Tsitsipas.
The next gen should be able to play similar to the big three like how they used to play in their prime. Playing well in the slams as well as the tournaments and getting enough rest as the calendar is getting hectic year by year. They have to be careful with the injuries as it affects the career of any young player and can even end one’s career. With the year coming to an end, there are huge possibilities in 2022 as the next gen is proficient in stopping records and now they can get to know how to make them.
Novak Djokovic unsure about participating at the Australian Open 2022
(Tennis news) Twenty time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic has revealed that he’s unsure about playing at the Australian Open 2022 claiming that things are “not good at all” Down Under. The Serbian has already confirmed he will be playing at the Paris Masters, ATP Finals and Davis Cup Finals.
The World Number 1 has not participated in a tournament since Daniil Medvedev defeated Djokovic in the US Open final. The 34 year old revealed that he started training on Monday after an extended break from the sport. “I started training today, It's been a long time since I last trained with a racket. Admittedly, I trained my fitness, but I have only just started tennis. Today I was Olga's sparring partner. I am preparing her, and we will see what kind of work I do as sparring when she goes to the next tournament" said Djokovic.
Djokovic has been particularly private about his vaccination status, a factor that will be of importance with respect to the Australian Open. He has previously pointed out that it’s against the law in Serbia to enquire about personal medical details. “I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not," Djokovic said. "It is a private matter and according to our law, whoever asks you, you can in some way charge him for asking you. That is an immoderate question."
“I still don't know if I will play in Melbourne," Djokovic stressed. "I don't know what my schedule will be. There is too much speculation. The media speculates a lot and that bothered me a lot. I didn't advertise too much because everyone made some assumptions based on what I said a year ago. One and the same thing is going on and there is a lot of division in the society, not only in sports, but in the whole society, between those who have not been vaccinated and those who have been vaccinated and that's really scary."
There were a plethora of watertight rules at the 2021 Australian Open that annoyed a lot of tennis players including Novak Djokovic. Several of them were forced to quarantine for 14 days without any training, a factor which affected their fitness and form. Djokovic has urged players to unite and be involved in the decision making process before stringent rules are in place before the next edition of the Australian Open.
“The main problem is that if you are on a plane with a person who is positive, whether you are vaccinated or not, you automatically have to go to the room for 14 days," Novak Djokovic said. "That happened to Viktor Troicki in January this year. Not only him, but also 70 players had to be quarantined. I talked to a lot of players and that is something that everyone has a bad memory of," he added. "I would like the players to unite a little more, whether through PTPA or something independent or through ATP or WTA, just so that in some way we are relevant in some decision-making process. Now, I feel like the players aren’t wondering about anything at all."
The Serbian has reiterated that he does not expect much to change in the Australian Open 2022 compared to last year. He has revealed that his manager is in touch with the Federation of Australia about the latest ongoings. “I do not believe that the conditions will change much in relation to what we already know," Djokovic said. "As was the case this year, there will be plenty of restrictions. What I heard from my manager, who is in direct contact with people from the Federation of Australia, is that they are trying to improve conditions for everyone. Both for those who have been vaccinated and for those who have not."
Azam confident of win over India in T20 WC opener, says Pak more familiar with UAE conditions
Dubai, Oct 14 (Cricket news) Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is confident that his side will defeat arch-rivals India in its opening clash of the T20 World Cup as it is more familiar with the conditions, having played mostly in the UAE for the past three-four years.
Pakistan will take on India at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on October 24. They head to the fixture on the back of an unbeaten record at the venue, having recorded six T20Is wins here.
"We've been playing cricket in UAE for the past 3-4 years and we know the conditions really well," Azam was quoted as saying by the ICC.
"We know how the wicket will behave and the adjustments batters will have to make. On the day who plays the better cricket, wins the match. If you ask me, we will win," added the star batsman, who is set to play his first T20 World Cup and will make his debut as captain.
The side made UAE its home venue after international teams showed reluctance to tour Pakistan citing security concerns after the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team.
Pakistan have never won a World Cup match across both ODIs and T20Is against India but Azam is unperturbed, saying that it is a thing of the past.
"We know the pressure and the high intensity of each game, especially the first one. Hopefully, we can win the match and carry the momentum forward.
"Your belief and confidence as a group matter a lot before a tournament. As a team, our confidence and morale are really high. We are not thinking of the past but the future. We are preparing for that.
"I am fully confident that we are well prepared and will play good cricket on the day," he added.
Talking about his side which is a blend of youth and experience, Azam said "All the players have entered the side after a good domestic performance." "We have a lot to learn from the senior players in the side because they have so much experience, they have played the World Cup and leagues before.
"7-8 players in our squad have also played the Champions Trophy before which brings out different confidence." Pakistan will also have the services of former Australian opener Matthew Hayden and the South Africa pacer Vernon Philander, who have been appointed the side's batting and bowling consultants respectively for the tournament.
"Hayden and Philander bring a lot of experience. Our attempt will be to learn from them as much as we can and quickly. The boys have the ability to absorb quickly and mix with them.
"You can see Philander has already started working hard with the bowlers and you can see the past record, bowlers win you the tournament. Hasan Ali was our best bowler in the Champions Trophy. He will take the bowling line-up alongside him," said Azam.
Pakistan will play their warm-up matches against West Indies on October 18 and South Africa on October 20 in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively.
Also Read : Rashid Khan picks Kohli, Pandya in his top-five T20 international players
News Source : PTI
Grigor Dimitrov struggling with his form on tour, drops out of top twenty in rankings
(Tennis news) Grigor Dimitrov is currently ranked 28th in the world and is one of the most athletic players on tour. Dimitrov has played 35 matches this year so far while winning 20 of them, he has a similar playing style like Roger Federer and has an elegant backhand just like him.
Dimitrov has been one among many who have been in the shadows because of the dominance of the big four. His best performance in the last two years came at the 2019 US Open where he defeated Roger Federer for the first time to reach the semifinals. Since then Dimitrov has failed to reach any final of any tournament and this year reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open beating Dominic Thiem on the way.
Dimitrov had reached the last four at San Diego Open which was his only last four appearance this year. He last reached a final of a tournament in 2018 at Rotterdam where he lost to Federer and last won a title in 2017 which was the Nitto ATP Finals. Since then Dimitrov has struggled with his form, even though he has been reaching the last eight in few of the tournaments it has been tough for him to shine at the big stage.
Dimitrov is currently playing at the Indian Wells and has reached the fourth round for the first time. He is one of the most talented players on tour but has always struggled with consistency throughout his career, with the next gen winning Grand Slams and slowly taking over the game will be causing trouble to the generation who are in the middle. Dimitrov turned 30 this year although he is much younger than the big three, he has to prove himself against the next generation. Given his talent he can do much more for sure and there is still a lot left in him.
Dimitorv has a single handed backhand which is fast and has an effective slice but the best part in his game is his athleticism and the ability to stretch. He has been known to perform trickshots at the net but will have to step up and start winning titles again. With his experience, he can dominate the game and still has time to capture a Grand Slam as he knows what it takes, having come close on many occasions. Dimitrov will face Daniil Medvedev in his next match at Indian Wells, looking at Medvedev he will know that opportunities are taken by force in this sport.
Andrey Rublev and Karolina Pliskova suffer shock third round exit at Indian Wells
(Tennis news) In men’s singles, Tommy Paul was making his debut at Indian Wells this year and had defeated Feliciano Lopez, Dušan Lajović in the previous rounds. Paul had faced Rublev on three occasions and was yet to score a victory over the Russian. They had met this year in Madrid as Rublev prevailed in three sets but this time Paul was the one calling the shots in the match.
Paul broke Rublev’s serve in the ninth game of the first set which was enough to take the set but Rublev turned around the game in the second set by taking a 3-1 lead. Rublev managed to take the second set and was looking for a fourth consecutive victory over Paul when a powerful cross court forehand by Paul hurt Rublev’s chances as he was only a game away from defeat. Rublev came back in the next game but Paul took the next two games to secure his first victory over Rublev. Paul defeated Rublev 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
Daniil Medvedev entered the fourth round for the first time as he beat Filip Krajinović in a match where both the players showcased their physical capabilities. Medvedev had beaten Krajinović in the third round of the Australian Open this year but had lost to him here in the same stage two years ago. Medvedev did not let Krajinović take control of the rallies as he used dropshots and volleys to keep Krajinović down. Krajinović was one game away from taking the second set but could not get the ball past Medvedev at the net and at the baseline. Medvedev defeated Krajinović 6-2, 7-6(7-1).
Aslan Karatsev only needed an hour and half to beat Denis Shapovalov in their first meeting. Shapovalov had reached the fourth round here two years ago but this time couldn’t use his backhand to beat Karatsev. Karatsev is playing at Indian Wells for the first time and had pinpoint accuracy in the match as he secured victory with a passing shot. Karatsev defeated Shapovalov 7-5, 6-2.
In women’s singles, Beatriz Haddad Maia who is currently ranked 115 in the world recorded a massive victory over top seed Karolina Pliskova. Beatriz got into the main draw as a lucky loser as Nadia Podoroska had to withdraw due to a thigh injury and now Beatriz will face Anett Kontaveit in her next round. Pliskova’s serve was not effective this match as she was broken 8 times by the Brazilian. Beatriz defeated Pliskova 6-3, 7-5.
Defending champion Bianca Andreescu also suffered a fate similar to Pliskova as she was beaten by Anett Kontaveit, Anett had earlier beaten Bianca at the Eastbourne Open and at Miami two years ago. Anett looked in form right from the beginning as she hit a return winner off Bianca’s serve in the first game of the match. She kept attacking Bianca’s serve during the match as she took a two game lead in the second set and reached the fourth round for the second consecutive time. Kontaveit defeated Bianca 7-6(7-5), 6-3.
In a battle of top ranked players, Ons Jabeur beat Danielle Collins as she recorded a season leading 46 victories. Danielle had won in their only previous meeting a year ago in the fourth round of French Open but this time she committed 11 double faults and only won 28 percent of her second serves to lose her way in the match. Jabeur had a total of 12 break points in the match and won 7 of them to go into the fourth round. Jabeur defeated Danielle 6-1, 6-3
In men’s doubles, second seeds Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram were knocked out in a three set battle against Tim Putz and Michael Venus, after taking the first set Joe and Rajeev lost the second and in the third tiebreaker could not make a comeback. Tim and Michael defeated 4-6, 6-4, 10-6.
Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson lost their second match here to Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecău in two tie breakers. Sam and Steve came close in the first one but could not make it far in the second as their run in the Indian Wells came to an end. Kevin and Horia defeated Sam and Steve 7-6(9-7), 7-6(7-4).
In women’s doubles, top seeds Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková took it easy against Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Ulrikke Eikeri as they lost only 5 games in two sets. Barbora and Kateřina defeated Aliaksandra and Ulrikke 6-3, 6-2.
Fourth seeds Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk lost to Elena Rybakina and Veronika Kudermetova in a three setter where they failed to win a single point in the final set. Elena and Veronika defeated Alexa and Desirae 6-3, 6-7(2-7), 10-0.
Looking back at Rafael Nadal’s record breaking run at the 2020 French Open
(Tennis news) The 2020 French Open was played from September to October instead of its usual schedule due to the pandemic. Rafael Nadal had won the last three editions and was looking for a 13th title here and 20th Grand Slam overall. Roger Federer was leading the list with 20 Slams, Nadal had 19 and Novak Djokovic came in third with 17 slams.
Nadal had lost in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to Dominic Thiem in four sets and was looking to win his first title of the year after winning two slams the previous year. Nadal recorded two bagels in the first four matches and faced stiff competition in the quarterfinals from Jannik Sinner as the first set went till tiebreak. In the semifinals he faced Diego Schwartzman and had lost to him for the first time at Rome, the first two sets went in favour of Nadal and in the third set a tie break was needed in which the Spaniard prevailed to head into the final for a 13th time.
Nadal and Djokovic were meeting at Roland Garros for the seventh time. Djokovic had handed Nadal his second defeat at the French Open when they met last time five years ago and had beaten Nadal at the ATP finals in the beginning of the year. Beating Nadal at the French Open has been one of the most difficult tasks in the sport since 2005 and Djokovic was the favourite to do so.
Nadal began his title defense by taking the first six games as he recorded his third bagel of the tournament and went on to win the next two to take his 13th French Open and join Federer with 20 Grand Slams. Nadal had not dropped a set while winning the title and did it for the fourth time and the first time since the 2017 French Open. This has been Nadal’s last slam till date and is currently recovering from an injury in his left foot having played three slams this year.
Nadal will be 36 next year and is still the favourite to win the French Open. Given his record at the Slam in the past 16 years there is little chance anyone can topple the “King of clay” other than Djokovic as even Federer has failed in multiple attempts even at his prime he could not defeat Nadal at Roland Garros. The left hander undoubtedly is the best when it comes to the clay surface and the French Open has his name written all over, Nadal has every chance to take the crown in 2022.
Top players who can make their debut at the Next Gen ATP Finals
(Tennis news) The fourth edition of Next Gen ATP Finals is set to begin from next month as the top eight players aged 21 or under will fight for the title. Defending champion Jannik Sinner, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Carlos Alcaraz and Sebastian Korda have already qualified for the event with four spots remaining and a month left there are players who are close to qualifying for the prestigious event.
The 18 year old Spaniard secured his place in the event when he made the quarterfinals at the US Open and defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round. He also reached the semifinals at Winston Salem and Marbella Open and won his first tour level title at Umag while defeating Richard Gasquet in the final. Carlos also made his debut in all the Slams this year, he reached the second round at Wimbledon and Australian Open and the third round at French Open. He has an aggressive style of play which is well suited at hard courts and can bring out his powerful forehand.
Korda had reached the fourth round of the French Open as a qualifier last year and had defeated John Isner on the way. This year he started with a runner up finish at Delray Beach and defeated John Isner at the quarterfinals, Korda then reached the quarterfinals at Miami Masters 1000 defeating Fabio Fognini, Aslan Karatsev and Diego Schwartzman on the way.
His biggest win came at Parma Open when he won the title without dropping a set the whole tournament. He also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon losing to Karen Khachanov in a thrilling four hour battle. Korda is 6 feet five inches tall which gives him good reach and also is a defensive player with great control over the ball.
Jenson had reached the fourth round of the US Open losing to world number one Novak Djokovic in four sets while defeating Karatsev and Taylor Fritz on the way. He was the runner up at Newport and had reached the last four at Washington. Jenson has a powerful cross court forehand and pulls out a sudden backhand dropshot which looks like a typical double handed backhand.
The 19 year old Italian will be eager to prove himself in front of his home crowd. Lorenzo first came into the spotlight last year when he reached the round of 16 at Rome while defeating Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori in straight sets and later won to reach the semifinals at Sardinia. This year he reached the semifinals at Acapulco Open losing to Tsitsipas while defeating Frances Tiafoe and Grigor Dimitrov on the way and then reached the semifinals at Lyon again losing to Tsitsipas. He has a classic one handed backhand which has been quite lethal and has quite a bit of trickshots up his sleeve.
Casper Ruud beats Cameron Norrie to win fifth title at San Diego Open
(Tennis news) Casper Ruud won a season leading fifth title at the San Diego Open by beating Cameron Norrie in a one sided final. Ruud only lost two games in the final as he unleashed powerful winners against the left hander and now has the most titles this season.
Ruud took the first six games as he gave away no options to Norrie who never got the chance to settle in the match as the first set got over in 26 minutes. In the second set, Ruud continued his dominating performance to lift the trophy and now has more titles than Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev who have four each.
Ruud has won all the five finals he has reached this year, his previous four titles came on clay as this is his first hardcourt title. He is currently in eighth position in the race for World Tour Finals and has improved his game in the hardcourt this year. Ruud had defeated Andy Murray, Lorenzo Sonego and Grigor Dimitrov on his way to winning the title at San Diego.
Ruud is now three wins away from 50 tour wins this season and has lost 12 matches. He won his first tour title last year in clay at Buenos Aires and this year is on top with five titles. The Norwegian now sets his eyes on the Masters 500 and 1000 as he reached the semifinals at Rome last year where he lost to Novak and also reached the last four at Hamburg losing to Andrey Rublev. This year he reached the quarterfinals at Toronto where lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas and also in Cincinnati as he lost to Zverev.
Ruud also reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and the last four at Monte Carlo and Madrid. Clay has been his favourite surface as the numbers clearly suggest, the world tour finals is only a month away and Ruud will be eager to bring out his San Diego form. The next tournament is the Indian Wells as the Shanghai Masters, China Open and the Japan Open have been cancelled owing to the pandemic.
There are two Masters 1000 and 500 events left as there are four 250 events left. The players will look to accumulate as many points as possible for the World Tour finals as only Djokovic, Medvedev and Tsitsipas have qualified for the event and the remaining five spots are crucial for the players who are next.
Aslan Karatsev knocks out Hubert Hurkacz at the San Diego Open
(Tennis news) Aslan Karatsev had a giant killing run from the start of the year as he became the first man to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam in his debut. He had come through the qualifiers in the Australian Open and defeated Diego Schwartzman, Félix Auger-Aliassime, Grigor Dimitrov on the way to the semifinals where he lost to Novak Djokovic. His run didn't stop there as he went on to win the Dubai Open and defeated Djokovic in the semifinals in his home turf at the Belgrade Open in Serbia.
After his performance at the Belgrade Open, he slumped to poor form which saw him failing to advance to the quarterfinals in the next 11 tournaments. In the San Diego Open, Aslan beat in form Hubert Hurkacz in a three set contest which lasted for two and half hours. Hubert started well by taking the first set but an aggressive Aslan kept hitting the ball harder than his opponent. Aslan took the next two sets as the match looked more predictable towards the end and defeated Hubert 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
Rising star Casper Ruud was in relentless pursuit for a win against Andy Murray as the rallies were long and gruelling. Ruud took the first set after finally managing to break Murray as both of them did not seem to give in at any point of time. In the second set Ruud managed to take a 3-0 lead as the crowd started engaging more with every rally as both were playing from the baseline. Ruud defeated Murray 7-5, 6-4.
Denis Shapovalov found answers from the net as well as the baseline as Taylor Fritz kept attacking Denis. Fritz came at the net multiple times in the opening set but could not keep the ball away from Denis who covered the court effortlessly and took the first set with a running winner across Fritz at the net. In the second set, Fritz played from the back of the court which clearly was not a good idea as Denis raced to take the second set with powerful forehands. Denis defeated Fritz 7-6(9-7), 6-2.
Grigor Dimitrov lost only two games against August Holmgren in his fourth round match up as he will be facing Aslan in the quarterfinals and will look to avenge his Australian Open defeat earlier this year. Dimitrov was a sight to watch against Holmgren as he cooked up great shots to give the 901 ranked player a free tennis lesson, Holmgren hit the ball hard but was not fast enough for Dimitrov as he was too good at every point simply showing his experience and agility on court. Dimitrov defeated Holmgren 6-1, 6-1.
Cameron Norrie saved a handful of set points in the first set and came back from 2-5 down to take the first set in a tiebreaker against Daniel Evans. Evans failed to capture the set after multiple set points and faced the forehand wrath of Norrie. In the second set, Norrie broke Evans as Evans missed an easy backhand volley in the eighth game to give Norrie the advantage and then Norrie served out the match to set up a clash with Denis in a battle of left handers in the quarterfinal. 7-6(7-3), 6-3.
1988: Steffi Graf’s Golden Slam marks 33 year anniversary
(Tennis news) Steffi Graf is one of the most complete tennis players in the world, she was only 19 years old in 1988 when she completed a historic quest, something which has never been achieved in tennis before and has been achieved by Diede de Groot and Dylan Alcott in wheelchair tennis this year.
On October 1st 1988, Graf made history as she wore the gold medal around her neck which was a symbol of pure domination that year. She was only a teenager when she won all the four slams and the Olympic gold as it was regarded as the one of the most dominating periods in the history of tennis. She had only won one slam before this year which came at the French Open, this record saw the beginning of her supremacy in women's tennis.
She began the Golden Slam run at the Australian Open where she beat Chris Evert in the final, in the French Open she brutally defeated Natasha Zvereva with a double bagel in the final and has never happened ever since. In Wimbledon, she lifted the trophy after coming back from a set deficit and a two game lead against Martina Navratilova in the final and in the final slam of the year beat Gabriela Sabatini who had two successive wins against Graff in the start of the year. She had achieved the calendar slam and became the first woman and the second player to win it all along with Rod Laver in the open era.
Nobody hoped for a Golden Slam but it seemed inevitable for the young German who kept crushing every player she met on the court. The Olympic gold was now in reach as Graff had to win five matches to win the gold medal and once again defeated Sabatini in the women’s singles final to complete the Golden Slam. She had also won the Wimbledon doubles that year along with a doubles bronze at the Seoul Olympics.
Graf had won all the slams at least four times which showed her remarkable talent. The surfaces didn't matter to her as she transformed herself into another level from that year. To be unbeaten in a particular surface and tournament is heard of but to remain unbeaten in all the four slams given their surfaces is a lot to take for. The amount of pressure she would have faced is not imaginable as the audience watched Novak Djokovic vent out his frustration at the Tokyo Olympics and how one of the toughest men in sport cried before losing the match to Daniil Medvedev at the US Open final.
It's been 33 years but the record seems to be in safe hands as players have not come close to it other than Novak Djokovic this year and looks to be even more safer in the women’s field. The level of consistency and adaptability which made the Golden Slam year possible is almost impossible to find in today’s game as players mostly perform according to the courts. Many players miss out on the Olympic gold or even a medal as top players have not won the gold medal in their career. But Graf did it in one year and was a young player who had come into the WTA tour as a thirteen year old. The age factor is still a question which puzzles the audience as many athletes over the age of 35 still get into the teams because of their performance while teenagers also play well and now like Graf there are many youngsters in the tennis court who aspire to become like her and the US Open this year was a strong signal sent to the veterans.
Grigor Dimitrov records first victory over Marton Fucsovics at San Diego Open
(Tennis news) Grigor Dimitrov so far has had a disappointing year after a good start in the opening few months. He had reached the quarterfinals in the Melbourne Open and defeated Dominic Thiem in the Australian Open to reach the quarterfinals but since then has had nine victories and 11 losses. He has not yet reached the last four in any tournament and hasn’t won a title since 2017.
He faced Marton Fucsovics in the opening match, an opponent he has played twice and lost both the matches but this time Dimitrov gave a glimpse of his attacking game as he struck winners from the forehand and backhand. His athletic game was not on display but his strokes were fast and on point which was enough to beat Marton. Dimitrov defeated Marton 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.
Dimitrov will next face Felix Auger-Aliassime and has a similar history with the young Canadian. Dimitrov has lost both the matches against him and is yet to take a set, their last meeting was at Rotterdam in the fourth round.
Diego Schwartzman did not let US Open quarter finalist Llyod Harris stage an upset as he recorded his second victory over Harris after the first round win in the Australian Open last year. Schwartzman is one of the fastest movers on court and was competing against an equally quick player as there were long rallies with the players running from one end to the other, a single break in the first two sets gave them a set a piece. In the final set, Schwartzman broke Harris in the very first game and continued his form till the last point to set up a match with Andrey Rublev. Schwartzman defeated Harris 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Schwartzman faced Rublev at the Laver Cup this year as the Russian finished on top and their previous meeting was at the 2017 French Open in a first round marathon with Schwartzman going into the second round.
Rublev showed no mercy against wildcard Brandon Nakashima as there umpteen winners coming from Rublev. Brandon had reached the finals at La Cabos and Atlanta and even beat John Isner at La Cabos in the semifinal and at the US Open 1st round but lost to him at the Atlanta finals. This time there was no scope for a win as he couldn’t handle the power of Rublev who kept thrashing the ball leaving no option for Brandon but to watch it go across him. Rublev defeated Brandon 6-2, 6-1.
Fresh off from winning the title at the Moselles Open, Hubert Hurkacz continued his winning run in San Diego as he beat Alex Bolt in the first round to set up a first time meeting with Aslan Karatsev. Hubert looked fresh from the start as he tackled strong forehands from Bolt as the first set needed a tie breaker to settle the scores, Hubert’s supreme net play won him the first set. In the second set, Hubert played with the same energy as Bolt began to falter from the start which gave Hubert an early lead which he maintained till the end to beat the left handed qualifier. Hubert defeated Bolt 7-6 (7-2), 6-1.
World number 1 Novak Djokovic withdraws from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells
(Tennis news) Five time BNP Paribas Open champion Novak Djokovic has confirmed his withdrawal from the Indian Wells, the Serbian along with the tournament organizers have confirmed.
In a twitter post, Djokovic said “I am sorry I won't get to see my fans in Indian Wells and play in the desert, my favourite place to go. I hope to see you next year!". Tommy Haas, tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open said “We are disappointed that Novak will not be able to join us at the BNP Paribas Open this fall. We hope to see him back in Tennis Paradise next March to contend for a record-setting sixth title in the desert."
The 34 year old last made an appearance at the US Open where he lost to Daniil Medvedev. The Serbian has enjoyed a successful year, winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon and was attempting to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four major honours in a single season.
Djokovic has already earned a spot at November’s ATP Finals in Turin and is on course to finish the season as World Number 1 for the seventh time, becoming the only tennis player in history to do so. His fellow greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have already ended their seasons while Dominic Thiem, the 2019 BNP Paribas Open champion is also out due to an injury.
Nick Kyrgios out of 2021 season due to injury, to be back next year at the Australian Open
(Tennis news) World number 96 Nick Kyrgios has become the latest player to finish his 2021 season early due to a knee injury. The Australian had featured in the Laver Cup for Team World, losing the singles against Stefanos Tsitsipas and the doubles to Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev while partnering with John Isner.
Kyrgios had lost in the first round against Roberto Bautista Agut at the US Open and had first round exits at Toronto and Washington. His last victory came at Atlanta against Kevin Anderson in the first round. He has only played seven tournaments this year and did not play in the French Open, his best performance came in the Murray River Open where had reached the fourth round as he lost to Borna Coric.
Kyrgios lost to Dominic Thiem in the third round of the Australian Open after taking a two set lead with the match lasting for four hours and was next seen at Wimbledon where he retired mid match due to an abdominal injury against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the same stage. He has been affected by injuries this season which saw him play a total of 15 matches and had first round exits in his last three tournaments.
The 26 year old had posted in instagram saying he hadn’t been a hundred percent fit lately and in the Laver Cup said that he plans for an early retirement. Known for his temperament and skills, he is planning to return to the Australian Open next year and had reached the quarterfinals in 2015. He is regarded as one of the most talented players on tour but with a troublesome attitude and is known to be a crowd puller.
Kyrgios joins Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Dominc Thiem who have finished their season early due to injuries. Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka have also ended their 2021 season as all of them hopefully will be seen on court at the first Grand Slam of the year. Last year, the pandemic had played its part on the tour as many tournaments were cancelled in the first half and this year has seen players being affected by injuries.
With only two months of tennis season left, the teenage stars will look to perform in absence of their seniors on tour. In the women’s tour, BNP Paribas Open is the next Masters 1000 tournament and the VTB Kremlin Cup starts right after Paribas Open. The year end championships will be held in November. For the men’s tour, the BNP Paribas Open will be held next month followed by the Rolex Paris Masters in November as the World Tour finals will be held from the second week of November. The fourth edition of next Gen ATP finals will start from November 9th as the youngsters will hope for a US Open scenario to happen again.
Also read: Reilly Opelka enters the top twenty rankings for the first time
RR need to address batting frailties for returning to winning ways in IPL
Dubai, Sep 26 (Cricket News) Skipper Sanju Samson needs support from his batsmen as Rajasthan Royals look to return to winning ways against laggards Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Monday and keep their play-offs hopes alive in the Indian Premier League.
RR are currently placed seventh in the standings with eight points from nine games, while SRH are already out of contention following just one victory and eight reverses.
In the second leg of the T20 league, RR defeated Punjab Kings by two runs before losing by 33 runs against table toppers Delhi Capitals on Saturday.
SRH, on the other hand, lost by eight wickets and five runs against DC and Punjab, respectively, post IPL's the resumption in the UAE.
Come Monday, RR would definitely fancy their chances against SRH in the battle of strugglers. In the first leg in India, RR defeated SRH by 55 runs.
In their game against DC in the second leg, the RR bowling unit continued its impressive show, restricting the opponents to 154 for six.
But it is the batting department that let RR down with Samson (unbeaten 70) playing the lone hand.
The likes of young Yashasvi Jaiswal and Mahipal Lomror, who starred with the bat against Punjab, and Liam Livingstone and David Miller all failed to stitch a partnership with Samson.
All-rounders Riyan Parag and Rahul Tewatia didn't help their cause either.
But RR would get confidence from the performance of its bowling unit in both the matches.
The pace trio of Mustafizur Rahman, young Kartik Tyagi and Chetan Saklariya have been impressive with the ball, while South African Tabrez Shamsi and Tewatia have delivered the goods in the spin department.
SRH, on the other hand, have had a disastrous campaign this season, suffering eight loses out of nine games they have played so far.
With nothing to lose after being knocked out of the tournament, bottom-placed SRH will look to play party-poopers from here on.
For SRH, it is all about enjoying the remaining few games and ending on a high.
With Johnny Bairstow, their season's leading run-getter, pulling out and Australian opener David Warner in poor form, SRH have found the going tough.
The likes of skipper Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Wriddhiman Saha, Kedar Jadhav and Abdul Samad also failed to provide the much-needed impetus to SRH's batting.
SRH's bowling is over reliant on spin sensation Rashid Khan as it has been a mediocre outing this season for the likes of Khaleel Ahmed, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jason Holder.
Teams (from): Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (captain), Liam Livingstone, Evin Lewis, David Miller, Chris Morris, Oshane Thomas, Mustafizur Rahaman, Tabraiz Shamsi, Glenn Phillips, Chetan Sakariya, Riyan Parag, Rahul Tewatia, Akash Singh, Anuj Rawat, KC Cariappa, Yashashvi Jaiswal, Shivam Dube, Shreyas Gopal, Kartik Tyagi, Mayank Markande, Jaydev Unadkat, Kuldip Yadav, Mahipal Lomror.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (captain), David Warner, Manish Pandey, Sherfane Rutherford, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Rashid Khan, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddharth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Basil Thampi, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Abdul Samad, J Suchith, Jason Holder, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Kedar Jadhav, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Jason Roy.
Match starts at 7:30PM IST.
Also Read : Bowlers script Delhi Capitals' 33-run win over Rajasthan Royals
News Source : PTI
Sunrisers Hyderabad face Punjab Kings in battle of laggards
Sharjah, Sep 24 (Cricket News) Almost out of reckoning for a play-off berth, bottom-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad will look to play party-poopers when they take on an equally struggling Punjab Kings in the IPL's battle of laggards here on Saturday.
Sunrisers suffered their seventh defeat on Wednesday after being blown away by Delhi Capitals and their play-off chances look less than dim as they have managed just two points after eight games.
Punjab, on the other hand, quite inexplicably found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against Rajasthan Royals and will be desperate to find an answer to their problems after being placed seventh with six points from nine matches.
The Kings were well-placed to win their first IPL game of the UAE leg before committing harakari in the last over bowled by Kartik Tyagi. They lost two wickets and scored just one run while needing four to win against Rajasthan.
Despite being packed with excellent Indian and foreign talent, Punjab Kings have regularly messed up games and skipper KL Rahul will have to address their inconsistency.
Punjab Kings have also lacked any kind of stability over the last 14 seasons with captains and coaches being changed frequently.
Their playing XI too has gone through many changes, something which has drawn sharp criticism from former team mentor Virender Sehwag.
In batting, Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have been one of the most dominant opening duo of the IPL.
In the last game too, they put on 120 runs in 11.5 overs but none of them could stay back to finish the job.
While Chris Gayle can destroy any attack even at the age of 41, he was kept out in the last game.
In the middle-order, Nicholas Pooran, who had a horrendous outing in the first phase, looked good in the last game before he lost his bearings in the final over even as Aiden Markram was left stranded on the other side.
In bowling department, Mohammed Shami has been their prime bowler and he did well to pull things back against RR.
Young Arshdeep Singh also returned with five wickets as he and Shami bowled out RR to 185 in the last game.
However, Punjab's spinners, especially England's Adil Rashid, have disappointed and they will need to step up their game in the next few weeks.
For Sunrisers, it is all about enjoying the remaining few games and ending on a high.
With Johnny Bairstow, their season's leading run-getter, pulling out and Australian opener David Warner in poor form, SRH have found the going tough against Delhi.
The likes of Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Wriddhiman Saha, Kedar Jadhav, Abdul Samad also failed to capitalise on their starts as SRH could manage just 134 in their last game.
Their bowling has been too dependent on spin sensation Rashid Khan and it will be important for the likes of Khaleel Ahmed, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jason Holder to put up a strong show to give some respectability to the team's campaign.
Squads: Punjab Kings: KL Rahul (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Shahrukh Khan, Mohammed Shami, Nathan Ellis, Adil Rashid, Murugan Ashwin, Harpreet Brar, Moises Henriques, Chris Jordan, Aiden Markram, Mandeep Singh, Darsan Nalkande, Prabhsimran Singh, Ravi BIshnoi, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar, Jalaj Saxena.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (Captain), David Warner, Manish Pandey, Sherfane Rutherford, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Rashid Khan, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddharth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Basil Thampi, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Abdul Samad, J Suchith, Jason Holder, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Kedar Jadhav, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Jason Roy.
March Starts: 7:30 pm.
Also Read : In the last two games, superstars have been our bowlers: Morgan
News Source : PTI
Boston to host the fourth edition of the Laver Cup, New generation leading the pack
(Tennis news): Laver Cup will begin from 24th of September and will be led by the next generation as the big three won’t be taking part this time. Team Europe is led by the US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and Diego Schwartzman will be leading team World, the tournament is back after a year as it was not held last year due to the pandemic.
The Laver Cup is played in honour of the living legend Rod Laver who dominated the game during the early 60’s and set records which still stands today. He is the only man to have achieved a calendar year slam and was the first player to do it when he won all the four slams in 1969. He played left handed and had strong groundstrokes along with an attacking serve and volley.
Laver also became the first Open era champion at Wimbledon in 1968, he had a total of 198 titles with 111 titles coming in the Open era. He also played doubles, winning all the slams except the US Open in the pre open era and won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in the open era. He was one of the highest paid players and had a total of 11 slams in which 5 of them came in the open era. Laver had laid the foundation for tennis, he was even present in this year’s US Open final and Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne is named after him.
The Laver Cup was created by Roger Federer’s management company TEAM8 along with former player Jorge Paulo Lemann with a partnership of Tennis Australia. It is based on the Ryders Cup in Golf and the top players from the US play against top professionals from Europe. The Laver has two teams, team Europe and team world and there six players in each team who will be captained by a legend in the sport. The current captain for team Europe is Bjorn Borg and vice captain being Thomas Enqvist as for the team world they are being captained by John Mcenroe and the vice captain being Patrick Mcenroe.
The Laver Cup does not have ATP points and is played between the top players. The players are chosen according to team ranking and the captain also chooses players, Team Europe has won the first three editions of the game and Alexander Zverev is the only one player from team Europe to feature in all the editions. John Isner and Nick Kyrgios and have also been part of all the editions in team world.
The first edition was notable as Federer and Rafael Nadal were part of the doubles team and in the second edition Federer and Novak Djokovic were part of the doubles team. There were outstanding performances from Sock in the doubles, Isner and Kyrgios in the singles. All the players watch the match on the court and also receive coaching during the match from the captain and the players.
Team Europe: Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud.
Team World: Félix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Diego Schwartzman, Reilly Opelka, John Isner and Nick Kyrgios.
John Isner is the only player this time who is aged above 30 as the rest of the players are all in their twenties. Isner who is 36 is the oldest and Félix Auger-Aliassime who is 21 is the youngest this time. Team Europe is filled with youngsters and is the favourite to win the Cup as for Team world they will look to hold the cup for the first time.
Delhi Capitals resume IPL campaign against laggards SRH
Dubai, Sep 21 (Cricket News) Bolstered by Shreyas Iyer's return, Delhi Capitals will look to maintain the form they showed in the first half of the season as they resume their IPL campaign against a struggling Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Wednesday.
Delhi are currently sitting on the second spot, with 12 points from eight games. On the other hand, Sunrisers are placed at the last spot, with just a solitary win from seven games and six losses.
The Rishabh Pant-led side ended the first half of the IPL with a win and would be keen to start on a winning note.
And to do that, the Capitals have enough power-hitters in their line-up, who can take any good attack to cleansers and Sunrisers won’t be an exception.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan (380 runs), would be keen to prove the selectors wrong after being axed from India’s World T20 squad, while his partner young Prithvi Shaw (308 runs), would also like to get some runs under his belt.
DC boast of a strong middle-order comprising Shreyas Iyer, skipper Rishabh Pant (213 runs), Australians Steve Smith (104 runs) and Marcus Stoinis (71 runs) and Shimron Hetmyer (84 runs.
They will have to play their roles well if the Capitals need to keep winning and in case the opener’s fail, the middle-order will need to take responsibility.
Iyer, who is making a comeback after recovering from shoulder injury that he sustained in March, would also be keen to start the tournament well.
Delhi also have a settled bowling attack and they could go in with Avesh Khan (14 wickets) and Kasigo Rabada (8 wickets), who have been lethal at the start and at the death.
Delhi have array of spinners to choose from – be it wily old-fox Ravichandran Ashwin, experienced campaigner Amit Mishra, Axar Patel, Lalit Yadav or Pravin Dubey.
For Sunrisers, a win would boost their confidence and help them stay afloat in the tournament.
However, their season’s leading run-getter Johnny Bairstow, has decided to pull out and hence the marauding Australian opener David Warner (193 runs) will have to shoulder more responsibility.
The likes of Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Wriddhiman Saha, Kedar Jadhav, Abdul Samad and Vijay Shankar, will also need to chip in and contribute.
Their bowlers, led by spin sensation Rashid Khan, also will have to put up a disciplined show to contain the Delhi batters at the Dubai International Stadium.
Teams (From): Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Ripal Patel, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimrom Hetmyar, Shreyas Iyer, Steve Smith, Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan, Ben Dwarshuis, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Kulwant Khejroliya, Lukman Meriwala, Pravin Dubey, Tom Curran, Umesh Yadav, Axar Patel, Lalit Yadav, Marcus Stoinis, Ravichandran Ashwin, Sam Billings and Vishnu Vinod.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (Captain), David Warner, Manish Pandey, Sherfane Rutherford, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Rashid Khan, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddharth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Basil Thampi, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Abdul Samad, J Suchith, Jason Holder, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Kedar Jadhav, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Jason Roy.
Match starts at 7.30 PM.
Also Read : How Kohli overcame persistent back issues
News Source : PTI
Australia too good for struggling India, win by nine wickets in first ODI
Mackay, Sep 21 (Cricket News) India's frailties in the batting and bowling department were laid bare as the mighty Australia gave the visitors a nine-wicket hiding in the first women's ODI to extend their record winning streak to 25 matches.
India, who are aiming to post 250 plus regularly to challenge the likes of Australia, could only manage 225 for eight in an innings that never got the momentum it needed.
Skipper Mithali Raj (61 off 107) recorded her fifth consecutive fifty, which was also her 59th overall, while the other contributions came from debutants Yastika Bhatia (35 off 51), Richa Ghosh (32 not out off 29) and veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami (20 off 24).
Australia gunned down the target in 41 overs as India bowling lacked the teeth to trouble them. The four-time World Cup winners last lost an ODI in October 2017.
After a sedate start of 30 runs in eight overs, Australian openers Alyssa Healy (77 off 77) and Rachael Haynes (93 not out off 100) changed gears to run away with the game.
Healy was the aggressor in their 126-run stand with her dominating knock comprising eight fours and couple of sixes. She was eventually caught at mid off trying to hit another one out of the ground off leggie Poonam Yadav.
Haynes and skipper Meg Lanning (53 not out off 69) then shared a 101-run stand and took Australia home for a resounding win.
India, who fielded three debutants in the game including Ghosh, Yastika and pacer Mansi Singh, have a lot of thinking and planning to do for the second ODI of the three-match series.
The decision to pack the eleven with three all-rounders in Sneh Rana, Deepti Sharma and Pooja Vastrakar, leaving out a specialist left-arm spinner, did not work for India.
Megha impressed with her ability to swing the ball while Jhulan bowled a tidy spell as usual but India were never able to put Australia under pressure.
On the batting front, the visitors would not have crossed the 220-run mark if it wasn't for the eight-wicket stand of 45 runs between Jhulan and Ghosh, who was picked ahead of Taniya Bhatia to add the much needed firepower.
India openers Shafali Verma (8) and Smriti Mandhana (16), whom the team relies on heavily for brisk starts, perished after hitting a few boundaries. They need to be consistent going forward.
The bowlers have identified the apparent weakness in Shafali's game and don't offer front-foot balls. The 17-year-old perished off a short ball again with wicketkeeper collecting the catch on the leg side off pacer Darcie Brown.
Brown (4/33) was the stand out bowler for Australia while debutant Hannah Darlington (2/29) and Sophie Molineux (2/39) took a couple each.
Mithali was hit on the helmet by a Ellyse Perry bouncer but she carried on to bat.
Senior India batter Harmanpreet Kaur did not play the game due to a thumb injury.
Also Read : India's batting struggles continue as visitors end up with 225/8
News Source : PTI
The 21st Slam in 2022 or the end of the big three reign, two groups on two different missions
(Tennis news) With the end of the final Grand Slam this year, the big three will start next year with 20 Grand Slams and there will be pressure on each of them when they face their younger rivals who are also on a mission. The US Open final saw youngsters all over the place as the older players just couldn’t match the energy with their juniors.
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the three greatest players whose rivalry has a new target. Federer and Nadal are plagued by injuries as they would not be competing this year, something which was supposed to clear the route for Djokovic but the next generation came in the way. The Australian Open next year will be a must watch as now the draw is hard to predict.
Focusing on the big three’s mission, Djokovic is the youngest as he is 34 years old with Nadal being a year older and Federer at 40 being the oldest. Djokovic is aging gracefully as he has reached the last four finals at the Grand Slam and won three of them which means that he is the clear favourite on any surface. Djokovic is the third man to win all the Grand Slams twice and the first one in over four decades, he defeated Nadal in the semifinals at the French Open this year and also saved two match points in the final at Wimbledon against Federer two years back.
Nadal has his best chances at the French Open which he has won a record 13 times. Even though he is affected by injury a comeback is never off the charts and is a fighter off court too. Nadal’s attacking style has cost him multiple times but he has the never give up spirit which even troubled Federer at his prime. Nadal has struggled in Wimbledon and also in Australian Open, French Open has been his home and the US Open also has been kind to him in recent times.
Federer was written off by critics 4 years back as he had not won a Slam since 2012. In the 2017 season he came back from an injury and made one of the most inspiring comebacks by winning two slams in the year which included a record 8th Wimbledon title. Federer is always a contender even though his last Slam was the Australian Open which he won three years ago and will hope to come back next year to further add more records in his glittering career. Maybe even a dream US Open clash facing Rafael Nadal as both of them have never played at Flushing Meadows.
The second mission is spearheaded by the newly crowned US Open champion Daniil Medvedev followed by Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas. These players are most likely to take the game ahead in the coming years when the big three step out of the court. They have the potential to win slams even if the big three is on the way and even if the odds are against them as seen at the US Open.
Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev are the only players to win a Slam in their pack. Zverev and Tsitsipas have reached the finals of a Slam and are expecting to open their tally next year. This year there were a lot of matches where these players made up for the absence of the veterans. Players like Matteo Berrettini who made the Wimbledon final, Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov are also not far behind in troubling the big three and the emergence of even younger players like Carlos Alcaraz Garfia, Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Musetti and Jenson Brooksby add more woes to the seniors.
Next year it might not even be about who will win the 21st Slam. It will be about who’s going to take the baton or to rephrase who’s going to grab it as the chances are high that the younger generation start their dominance and assert their presence on court. These players are ready to make history and take what is rightfully theirs, the courts are going to get messy but that's what happens in an invasion.
Also read: Daniil Medvedev’s groundbreaking run at the US Open gives hope to the next generation of stars
Daniil Medvedev’s groundbreaking run at the US Open gives hope to the next generation of stars
(Tennis news): Daniil Medvedev has pulled off one of the biggest upsets in tennis history as he defeated Novak Djokovic in the most unforeseen circumstances at the US Open. The odds were against Medvedev as he was facing arguably the most versatile tennis player on the planet but Medvedev put all that aside and did not let Djokovic in his head.
Djokovic was having the best possible year as he was unbeaten in Grand Slams and was looking to repeat the feat achieved by Rod Laver in 1969. Rod Laver was himself present in the crowd as his record was in danger but as the match started the record seemed to move further away. Medvedev played like he had nothing to lose and just broke Djokovic mentally as the pressure to win the calendar slam rocketed.
Djokovic lost the opening set as he had done previously in the last four matches and he had always come back in those matches but this time it looked like it was getting delayed as Medvedev did not falter at any point of time and kept winning points as he looked at the crowd which was witnessing a major upset.
Djokovic changed his shirt in the beginning of the last set as he tried one last time to make a comeback and there was a slight hope that the match would go another set and the crowd was suddenly chanting for Djokovic’s revival. Djokovic had the lost the first set at Wimbledon against Matteo Berrettini but even more notable was that he had the lost the first two sets against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the French Open but found ways to finish with the trophy in hand.
It was looking as if Medvedev had lost control and would choke in the end but Medvedev made sure the crowd would get the answer quick and clear. Maybe the Australian Open final against Djokovic in the year beginning played a major part in Medvedev’s victory or the pressure got to Djokovic in winning the calendar slam which does not seem likely.
The match saw both the players becoming emotional as there was a lot at stake especially for Djokovic. Djokovic was also seen smiling in the end as it reminded the crowd of the same grin which was there 10 years back when Djokovic saved one of the match points against Roger Federer in the semifinal with a powerful cross court forehand. This time Djokovic was seen in tears as he put the towel in his face before the last game and Medvedev who is known for his celebrations which involves a smile or just a thumbs up also did not hold back as he just fell on the court after winning the last point.
This victory is one of the most significant victories ever in the game, Rafael Nadal was defeated for the first time at the French Open in 2009 by Robin Soderling and it was a huge victory as Nadal had won the last four titles. Roger Federer was defeated in the same year at the US Open final by Juan Martín del Potro and Federer had won the last five titles. Nadal was defeated by the brutal strength of Soderling’s forehand and Federer was annihilated by Potro’s forehand, but the difference here is Djokovic had won all the Slams in the year, something which had not happened in the last 52 years.
Roger Federer was known for his ability to excel in all the surfaces but even he had his troubles in clay as he struggled especially against Nadal. Djokovic has proved himself to be a court player as he has continued to win no matter what the surface or opponent is but will be wondering what went wrong against Medvedev.
Medvedev stopped Djokovic from a historic calendar Slam and also from a record 21st Grand Slam title. Medvedev had already lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open final but none of that mattered to him when he played the final here at the US Open. Medvedev has now cemented his place in the list of greatest upsets and is the second man born in the 90’s to win a Grand Slam after Dominic Thiem took the title here last year.
Daniil Medvedev will celebrate his achievement now as he will lift the trophy and make sure he gets more next year. As for Djokovic it will be a painful defeat as he was only victory away but being the athlete he is there is no need to wait for him to bounce back. Djokovic will look to defend the titles next year and hope to give company to Rod Laver next time.
Also read: Paralympic stars Dylan Alcott and Diede de Groot create history by winning the Golden Slam in wheelchair tennis
Paralympic stars Dylan Alcott and Diede de Groot create history by winning the Golden Slam in wheelchair tennis
(Tennis news) History was created on Sunday when Dylan Alcott and Diede de Groot won the U.S Open to conclude the most successful tennis campaign imaginable. Nobody in the history of wheelchair tennis had won the Golden Slam until yesterday and when it finally happened, it occurred not once but twice.
Having already won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and Paralympic gold medals, Dylan Alcott and Diede de Groot won the U.S Open in dominant fashion to cement their historic accomplishment. World number 1 from Australia Dylan Alcott defeated Niels Vink of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-2 in the quad singles division while Dutch World Number 1 Diede de Groot defeated 2nd seed Yui Kamiji of Japan 6-3, 6-2 in the Women’s Singles Final.
Only Steffi Graff in 1988 has won all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal in the same year. The accomplishment was not possible in wheelchair tennis until 2016, when Wimbledon was added for wheelchair tennis players. Alcott, who previously won a Paralympic gold medal in basketball in 2008 became the only male tennis player to win the Golden Slam.
In his acceptance speech, Alcott said “To all the sponsors, everybody that makes it happen, thank you for putting us on stadium courts, changing my life, changing Niels's life, but hopefully changing the lives of millions of people with disability around the world, that they can see themselves on the big stage doing what they love." He continued, "I used to hate myself so much. I hated my disability. I didn't even want to be here anymore. And I found tennis, and it changed and saved my life, and now I've become the only male ever in any form of tennis, I think, to win the Golden Slam, which is pretty cool."
Both Dylan Alcott and Diede de Groot were honoured during the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. Alcott poured a can of beer into his trophy and chugged it, much to the crowd's delight. "I just haven't done it in front of 20,000 people and 50 million watching. There was no chance I wasn't going to skull that beer on Arthur Ashe after I just won the Golden Slam.
"I saw I got a smile from Novak and Medvedev, action which was nice. I wouldn't want to be a beer in New York tonight, because you're going to get destroyed. That's for sure.''
Also read: Daniil Medvedev does the impossible against Novak Djokovic at the US Open final, Emma Raducanu captures first Grand Slam in style
Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram win doubles title at the US Open, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev reach summit clash
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Daniil Medvedev proved why he is the world number 2 as outsmarted Felix Auger Aliassime in the semifinals of the US Open. Medvedev has been finishing matches quickly in the tournament so far and the semifinal was no different. Felix started well as he came into the net and picked up a few points in the first set but Medvedev was always a step ahead.
In the second set Felix gave his best shot as he raked up a 5-2 lead and even had a set point at 5-4 even as Medvedev slowly started coming back. Medvedev took the second set as he reeled off the final five games and the third set saw Felix making an exit from his best ever performance in a Grand Slam. Medvedev defeated Felix 6-4, 7-5, 6-2
Novak Djokovic beat Alexander Zverev for the third time this year to reach the finals of the US Open. Djokovic made sure what happened in Tokyo stayed in Tokyo as he did not let his guard down and kept fighting till the last point. Djokovic repeatedly came into the net to outplay Zverev, Zverev then could not get the ball past him. Although Djokovic won the match it certainly brought out some great rallies from the players. Djokovic defeated Zverev 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have been exchanging the world number one ranking since 2004. The last time someone outside the big four became world number was in 2003 when Andy Roddick was on top and Daniil Medvedev has a chance to topple Djokovic if he manages to stop him in the final.
Djokovic is reaching the finals of all the Slams for the second time as he did it first in 2015. The last Calendar Slam was achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988 and in the Men’s field by Rod Laver in 1969. Djokovic will be under pressure as he is going to break many records when he steps on the court against Medvedev, but he has excelled in times like these and acts quick in times of crisis.
Djokovic is the hot favourite to win the Championship as Medvedev continues to spearhead the next generation against the big three. Medvedev has it in him to stage an upset and if he does it will be one to be remembered for ages. Whatever the result is on Monday it will be historic and a landmark in the sport.
In Men’s Doubles, Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury won the title as they defeated Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Rajeev and Joe did not let the first set defeat wear them down as they played aggressively against the error free pair of Jamie and Bruno.
Rajeev and Joe won the Australian Open last year and also reached the final this time. They will look to compete in the year end Championships but for now will celebrate the victory here.
In Women’s Doubles, the pair of Caty McNally and Cori Gauff have reached the finals and will play against Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai. Cori and Caty received a walkover in the semifinals against Luisa Stefani and Gabriela Dabrowski. Meanwhile Samantha and Zhang defeated Desirae Krawczyk and Alexa Guarachi 6-2, 7-5 to make it to the finals.
Caty and Cori upset top seeds Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens in the quarterfinals, Cori is only 17 years old and Caty is 19 as Samantha is 37 years old and Zhang is 32. The US Open is indeed an entrance for future superstars as many veterans made their breakthroughs at New York. Samantha Stosur won the Singles title in 2011 and the doubles title in 2005 and it will be interesting to see how they perform against the teenagers given their success at the Singles this time. The Women’s Singles and doubles final will take place tomorrow.
In Mixed Doubles, Giuliana Olmos and Marcelo Arévalo will face Joe Salisbury and Desirae Krawczyk in the championship match. Giuliana and Marcelo defeated Max Purcell and Dayana Yastremska 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 in the semifinals and will expect to have a tough fight against Joe and Desirae. Joe and Desirae defeated Jessica Pegula and Austin Krajicek 7-6(7-2), 6-4 to save some energy for the finals. The finals will be played today.
Also read: Teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez into the finals of the US Open
Monica Seles will always be the greatest teenager in the history of Tennis
(Tennis news): The recent arrivals of teenagers in the US Open such as Emma Raducanu, Leylah Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz Garfia have amazed the tennis world. Many teenagers have come and gone in the past few years as only few have managed to stay on the tour. The rest succumb to pressure or lose their magic as they age. Monica Seles is undoubtedly the best when it comes to young talent.
Seles played left handed and had a double handed forehand and backhand which brought out a lot of force in her groundstrokes. She was a baseliner and a very aggressive player who grunted on the court. The significance of Seles still remains as she had beaten the top players in Grand Slams multiple times before even turning twenty as she became a professional player at only 15 years old.
In the Men’s field, the most Grand Slam titles in Singles before the age of 20 is two. The record is shared by three men in the Open era, Boris Becker, Bjorn Borg and Mats Wilander. The women’s field has seen many more younger champions in the field and the record looks astonishing. Monica Seles holds the record for most Grand Slam titles in Singles as a teenager as she won 8 Grand Slam titles before turning twenty.
Steffi Graf and Martina Hingis had won five slams before their twenties. To be able to play on the WTA or ATP at such a young age is itself a major accomplishment but to defeat the top players who have twice the experience is almost impossible. Monica Seles was projected to win more slams than Steffi Graf and even Margaret Court but had an unfortunate end to her career.
Seles won her first Grand Slam in 1990 when she was 16 years old and defeated Steffi Graf in the final to win the French Open. She had reached the semifinals in the previous year, losing to Graff but this time clinched victory in straight sets. Seles won the French Open the next two years as she defeated Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in 1991 and won an epic match against Graf in 1992 as the final set score read 10-8.
Seles also won the Australian Open and US Open in 1991 and 1992, although she won more after turning twenty. She also reached the finals of the all Slams in 1992 and only lost in Wimbledon to Graf, they have played in 10 matches at the Slams with Graf leading with 6 victories. Seles won the Australian Open in 1993 which was her last as a teenager on tour. She also won three successive WTA Tour Finals which is the season ending championship.
On April 30 1993, Seles was playing in the Quarterfinals against Magdalena Maleeva at the Citizen Cup in Hamburg. During the games break, a fan came into the court and stabbed her from behind with a knife which resulted in her taking a break from the competition for two years. After the attack Seles could never come back to her old self and only won one slam after that.
Seles came back to the tour in 1995 and even reached the finals of the US Open where she lost to Graf. She won her 9th and final slam in 1996 by defeating Anke Huber at the Australian Open and reached the finals of the US Open that year again losing to Graf. Seles reached her last Grand Slam final at the 1998 French Open where she lost to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. She played the French Open in 2003, losing in the 1st round, which was her last official match.
It is almost possible to find a successor to Seles as it requires a lot of talent and hardwork to achieve what she did at that age. In an era where most of the players even fail to win a Grand Slam or win a handful in their whole career. Seles' form in court from 1990 to 1993 was outstanding as she won 8 titles and a runner up trophy. The level of tennis that was on display is still a sight to see and admire as she defied all odds and obstacles. Thirty years later we are witnessing a huge shift in the Men’s and Women’s tour as the young athletes are bagging the spotlight. The Women’s final will see two teenagers battling it out, maybe it's a start to a new era but Seles' record is here to stay.
Also read: Teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez into the finals of the US Open
Teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez into the finals of the US Open
(Tennis News): In Women’s Singles, Emma Raducanu showed no intentions of slowing down in her semifinal match against Maria Sakkari. Emma has become the first qualifier to reach the Women’s Singles final in the Open era and she has won all her matches in straight games. Maria tried her best with her powerful groundstrokes but it proved futile as Emma somehow managed to get to them and even return with more power.
Raducanu got off to a fine start as she took the first five games and Maria could only watch as the teenager took the set with ever growing confidence. In the second set again Raducanu never really lost control as Maria tried everything. There was a 17 point rally as Maria was trying to hold off a breakpoint at 2-4 and it involved two overhead smashes at the net which Raducanu defended brilliantly even though Maria won the point, it summed up the whole match. Raducanu defeated Maria 6-1, 6-4.
Leylah Annie Fernandez had to reserve her best for the end as she beat Aryna Sabalenka in her semifinal match. Leylah was down 0-3 in the first set but played like a veteran and took it till tiebreak to take the set even though Sabalenka gave her a tough time. The World number 2 was not going to go down against Leylah without a fight as she took the second set, Sabalenka had strong winners to lift up her spirit from time to time.
Leylah at times could not reach some of the groundstrokes produced by Sabalenka as it was a display of raw power. Although Sabalenka kept hitting powerful strokes it also brought many unforced errors which gave the teenager a hold of the match. Leylah defeated Sabalenka 7-6(7-3), 4-6, 6-4.
Last time the US Open saw two teenagers in a final was in 1999 when Serena Williams defeated Martina Hingis in the final.
Novak Djokovic versus Alexander Zverev
Djokovic and Zvere have played three matches this year with Djokovic leading 2-1. But in their last meeting Zverev pulled off a historic victory against the World number one. All of their matches have gone till the final set this year and Djokvic is the favourite to win the clash against young German.
In this year’s US Open Zverev has only spent 8 hours on the court and Djokovic has spent over 12 hours on the court. The time difference will play a major role even though Zverev will be getting two days and Djokovic will get one day rest. Zverev wil try breaking the Serb physically and also try getting into his head. Djokovic showed visible frustration against Pablo Carreño Busta in the Bronze medal playoff even smashing his racket in the court.
Zverev will try to repeat what he had done in the Tokyo Olympics and if he does will be one of the biggest upsets in tennis history. Djokovic has been invisible this year and stopping him in the Grand Slams is a tough task especially on hardcourts, he has had slow starts this time but once he finds his form there is no chance that he can be beaten this time.
Daniil Medvedev versus Felix Auger Aliassime
Daniil Medvedev is one of the most successful players on tour other than the big three over the past few years. He is the first man other than the big three to hold either of the top two spots in the rankings since 2005 and looks to be the next world number 1.Medvedev has won three titles this year with the latest one being the Toronto Open. He also has 40 victories this year and 10 losses, Medvedev was also the runner up in this year’s Australian Open where Novak Djokovic prevailed in straight sets. He also reached the quarterfinals of the French Open where he lost to Stefanos Tsistipas, Medvedev has so far only lost one set in the tournament.
Medvedev is a very cool and calm player on the court and he does express his emotions a lot. He has a very unorthodox forehand and backhand which enables him to change the direction of the ball quickly. Even though he is tall, Medvedev moves around the court like a gazelle and also has fast serves. He returns far away from the baseline which has been very effective in recent matches. Medvedev has spent over 10 hours on court and looks to be the favourite.
Felix Auger Aliassime is one of the latest players to have come up in the big stages, he has had a decent year but reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in Wimbledon. Felix is quick around the court and has a stable backhand which comes to play during long rallies. Felix has spent over 14 hours on court and has had tough matches on his way to the semifinals.
Felix did have a great time in the grass courts but on the hard courts this year he has struggled a bit. But in the US Open he showed that he is ready for big time tennis and will look to preserve as much as stamina against Medvedev, Felix will try to finish the rallies quickly as Medvedev is a baseliner and doesn’t come to the net much. The match will be in Medvedev's favour if it goes too long as he has had a similar experience against Rafael Nadal two years back, Felix will try to create more chances early in the match and continue his record breaking run here.
In Men’s Doubles, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares defeated the pair of Filip Polášek and John Peers 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals. In the second semifinals Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey’s brilliant run came to an end as they lost to Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram. Rajeev and Joe defeated Querrey and Johnson 7-6(7-5), 6-4.
Also read: Novak Djokovic books semifinal showdown against Alexander Zverev at the US Open, Emma Raducanu breaks into the last four
Novak Djokovic books semifinal showdown against Alexander Zverev at the US Open, Emma Raducanu breaks into the last four
(Tennis News): In Men’s Singles, Novak Djokovic is now only two wins away from winning the Calendar Grand Slam. Djokovic has now beaten Matteo Berrettini thrice this year, all of them coming in the Grand Slams. Berrettini took advantage of Djokovic’s slow start to take the first set but that was it as Djokovic delivered a masterclass to take the three sets to set up a semifinal clash against Alexander Zverev. Djokovic defeated Berrettini 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Alexander Zverev put an end to Lloyd Harris’s fairytale run at the US Open. Harris had earlier beaten Reilly Opelka, Denis Shapovalov and Karen Khachanov on his way to the quarterfinals. Zverev was in no way threatened by Harris although in the first set Zverev had to bring out his top game. Zverev also came to the net and effectively used the volley to win points even at crucial stages. Zverev defeated Harris 7-6(8-6), 6-3, 6-4.
In Women’s Singles, Emma Raducanu is making sure she spends more time at the US Open as she beat Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinal. Emma has become the first Qualifier in the open era to make the semifinals at the US Open. Emma was down 1-3 in the first set as Belinda kept showering blows to take an early lead but then Emma came back with an inspiring performance as she took the next five games to take the set. Emma kept hitting better and better as the match went on and Belinda waved goodbye to the crowd. Emma defeated Belinda 6-3, 6-4
Aryna Sabalenka was on her usual attacking form when she beat Barbora Krejcikova in the Quarterfinals. Sablenka had reached the semifinals in Wimbledon this year and looks to win the Championship to reach closer to the number 1 ranking which she has been chasing for some time now. Barbora could not withstand her opponent’s shots in the first set and in the second set made a brief comeback but it was not enough as Sabalenka will play against Leylah Annie Fernandez in the semifinal. Sabalenka defeated Barbora 6-1, 6-4.
Maria Sakkari’s backhand was too powerful and accurate as it played a major role in her quarterfinal match against Karolína Plíšková. The rallies were short as tournament’s ace leader Pliskova could not match Maria’s serve and groundstrokes. Maria is the first Greek player to ever reach a US Open semifinal; she had reached the semifinal at the French Open earlier this year. Maria defeated Pliskova 6-4, 6-4.
Leylah Annie Fernandez versus Aryna Sabalenka
Leylah Annie Fernandez is the second youngest in the last four. The 19 year old produced a huge upset as she knocked out defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round. She also defeated 2016 champion Angelique Kerber in the fourth round, her powerful strokes and athleticism has served her well in the hardcourts.
Aryna Sabalenka is the world number two and has plenty of experience by her side. She is 6ft tall and uses that for her powerful serves and groundstrokes to beat the opponent. Aryna is also very ruthless and can hit winners from any side of the court; she has dropped only one set in the tournament. She won the doubles title here in 2019 and the Australian Open doubles this year and can use the serve and volley combination to beat the teenager. Aryna will also have the mental strength over her young opponent.
Emma Raducanu versus Maria Sakkari
Emma is having the time of her life as she is into the last four in her second Grand Slam. She has not dropped a set in the tournament and even in the qualifiers did not lose a set. She has grown physically stronger and has not been challenged so far in the tournament. She is the youngest player left in this tournament and in the third round was almost close to a double bagel against Sara Sorribes Tormo. Although she has less experience she certainly looks the favourite given her form in the past few days
Maria Sakkari is a strong server and has powerful groundstrokes to accompany her all-court style of play. She will look to use her experience against the 18 year old and put her under pressure, Maria will also look to use her backhand which was particularly useful against Pliskova. This will be Maria’s second career semifinal after reaching the semifinal at the French Open.
Emma Raducanu is the youngest of the four as she is only 18 years old and Maria Sakkari is the oldest as she is 26 years old. Of the four semi finalists, none of them have ever reached a Grand Slam final and we will be looking at a first Grand Slam winner at this year’s US Open.
Also read: Canadians Felix Auger Aliassime and Leylah Fernandez into the semifinals at the US Open
Bopanna-Dodig pair goes down fighting in US Open
New York, Sep 7 (Tennis news) Veteran Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and his Croatian partner Ivan Dodig fought their hearts out before losing their men's doubles third round to fourth seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury at the US Open here.
Bopanna and Dodig, seeded 13th, lost 7-6(4) 4-6 6-7(3) to the Australian Open runners-up in a gruelling contest that lasted two hours and 30 minutes on Monday night.
With this defeat, India's challenge has ended at the last Grand Slam of the season.
Also read: Emma Raducanu breezes past Shelby Rogers at the US Open, Matteo Berrettini seeks Wimbeldon revenge against Novak Djokovic
Sania Mirza lost her both women's doubles and mixed doubles first rounds and Ankita Raina also lost in the women's doubles.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan could not not qualify for the singles main draw, falling in the Qualifiers.
News source: PTI
Young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz is breaking records one step at a time
(Tennis news): Carlos Alcaraz Garfia is just 18 years old and already making heavy strides in the game. The US Open has been his major spotlight although he has been making progress since the start of the year. At the start of the 2019 season, he was ranked 490 and by the end of the year he was ranked 130. In 2020 he started the year ranked 130 and the rankings didn't change much as there were few tournaments taking place. He has made his debut in all the Grand Slams this year.
In the 2021 season, Alcaraz made his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open where he beat Botic van de Zandschulp in the first round but lost to Mikael Ymer in the next round. His major breakthrough came in the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open, a 250 tier tournament where he made the semifinals beating Feliciano Lopez, Casper Ruud on the way. Alcaraz also faced his idol Rafael Nadal in the third round of the Madrid Masters 1000 losing in straight sets.
In the French Open, Alcaraz won his opening match against Nikoloz Basilashvili but lost his next match to Jan-Lennard Struff. In Wimbledon too he won his first match against Yasutaka Uchiyama and in the next match lost to Daniil Medvedev. His next tournament, the Croatia Open 250 will always be special to him as he beat Filip Krajinovic, Albert Ramos-Vinolas and in the final demolished Richard Gasquet for his first ATP tour title.
The Croatia Open has an interesting history behind it. Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero had won it in 2010. Novak Djokovic also made his tour level appearance in Umag back in 2003 when Alcaraz was born. The year 2003 is also when Rafael Nadal made his Grand Slam debut and Roger Federer won Wimbledon which was his first Grand Slam title. Alcaraz has a lot of players he can look upto especially his own countrymen, he considers Nadal as his idol.
Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former world number 1 and French Open winner in 2003 has been instrumental in the young Spaniard’s career. He has been coaching him since 2018 and has been bringing in changes constantly especially on his aggressive play. Stefanos Tsitsipas said that he has never seen anybody striking the ball that hard after losing to Alcaraz in the fourth round of the ongoing US Open.
Alcaraz is a right hander and plays a two handed backhand, he employs his powerful forehand to hit winners and also uses a drop shot as he can also finish off points in the net. His endurance was heavily tested against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round of the US Open, the match lasted for over four hours and Alcaraz had covered 9kms in distance during the match. Although he is young, he has the strength and grit to trouble the top players.
Alcaraz is the youngest Grand Slam quarter finalist since Michael Chang in the 1990 French Open and is the youngest to reach the US Open quarterfinals since 1963. He is the youngest man from Spain to reach the US Open fourth round since Nadal in 2006, Nadal had lost in the quarterfinals to Mikhail Youzhny that year. Alcaraz is also the youngest player to beat a top three ranked opponent since the start of the ATP rankings in 1973.
Alcaraz has a lot to look forward to since he has just started his career and has done it in the best way possible. 16 years ago, on a different surface another aggressive young Spaniard won his first Grand Slam and now will be looking for a successor. Nadal has set the bar high for the future players from Spain, Alcaraz has his targets in sight as he will try to reach the last four and maybe even face Novak Djokovic in a thrilling battle. There are a lot of expectations from the young lad as he will try to break in the next Gen which will be carrying the tour hopefully soon. Alcaraz has been a major headline of this year’s US Open and who knows might even lift a Grand Slam in a year or two.
The tour has seen a lot of youngsters making the top cut, but someone so young shining in the Grand Slams has not been seen in recent years. The pressure and facing the crowds itself is a difficult task and adding to facing top players who have had years of experience. Alcaraz doesn't seem to be distracted by all this as he is now a crowd favourite and showed his best tennis in Arthur Ashe Stadium which is the largest tennis stadium in the world. He will next face Felix Auger Aliassime who is also a rising star himself, it will be a eye dropping battle as the crafty Canadian will take on the aggressive rough Spaniard. A battle of the future stars and they have indeed added more spice in the tournament. The future of tennis is in safe hands and the ball is in the court, let's admire the show while it lasts.
Also read: Novak Djokovic four victories away from making history at the US Open, Leylah Fernandez knocks out Angelique Kerber in fourth round clash
Indian women's cricket team 'somehow' getting by in 'tiny rooms' of govt quarantine in Brisbane
New Delhi, Sep 2 (Cricket news) It is only day four of the Indian women's cricket team's 14-day hard quarantine in "tiny" hotel rooms in Brisbane but the isolation is beginning to take a toll on the players, a BCCI official has said.
The official told PTI that rooms are too small at the government's institutional quarantine facility with players somehow managing to do light training.
"The rooms are way too small. You barely manage to move around and do some training. There are no guards manning the place like the players witnessed in the UK but it is very strict.
"The food served though is okay and there is change in menu everyday. It will be a challenging two weeks," the official said.
The players had an easier time in the UK as they were allowed to train within the first week of their quarantine after spending two weeks in isolation in Mumbai.
The squad arrived in Brisbane on Monday after change in tour itinerary due to COVID-19 related restrictions in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne, the original venues for the series comprising three ODIs, a day-night Test and three T20s.
All matches will now be played in Queensland with the start of the series likely to be delayed by two days to September 21.
The men's cricket team, which toured Australia this year, was allowed to train for a limited period during its quarantine. The women though are confined to their hotel rooms for 14 days.
Australia is among the countries which has imposed some of the harshest restrictions on international travellers to curb COVID-19.
Seeing the positives from the current situation, head coach Ramesh Powar tweeted a photo of his room window with caption "AS LONG AS YOU HAVE WINDOW,LIFE IS EXCITING".
Also read: Ashwin overlooked again; mystery continues over exclusion despite Kohli explainer
The hard quarantine had also taken a toll on the tennis players ahead of the Australian Open earlier this year.
Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka had spoken about breathing issues post her first round loss in Melbourne.
She was among more than 70 players who were forced to undergo s 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
News source: PTI
Naomi Osaka waiting to fire her best shot, looks for a second major title this year
(Tennis News): Naomi Osaka is only 23 years old and has won one slam every year since 2018 and this year lifted her second Australian Open. Her first Grand Slam title came when she beat the most decorated tennis athlete in the past twenty years, Osaka defeated Serena Williams in straight sets to lift the trophy. She has won all the four finals she played in the Grand Slams and is predicted to be the next superstar in the Women’s tour. Osaka is the defending champion as she won her second US Open title by defeating Victoria Azarenka after losing the first set.
Osaka had a dream start in the year when she won the Australian Open defeating Jennifier Brady 6-4, 6-3. She was on the verge of losing in the fourth round against Garbine Muguruza but saved two match points to stand strong like a true champion. In the next three tournaments, her best performance was a quarterfinal finish in Miami Masters 1000, in the French Open she won her first round match against Patricia Maria Tig from Romania but issued a walkover in the 2nd round. Osaka had said that she wouldn’t attend press conferences for her mental being, this caused controversies as she received a warning and also a hefty fine from the organisers. Osaka finally decided to pull out of the French Open to ensure a healthy mental well being.
Osaka pulled out of the Wimbledon due to personal reasons but confirmed her participation in the Tokyo Olympics in front of her home crowd. She lost surprisingly in the round of 16 to Marketa Vondrousova to miss out on a medal opportunity. She returned to the Cincinnati Open and started well by defeating Cori Gauff in her first match but lost in the next to Jill Teichmann in the round of 16. Osaka has played 22 matches this year winning 17 of them and has been struggling recently but champions are never out of contention.
Osaka is a highly aggressive player on court and has a monster forehand along with a super fast serve. She is known to serve which has speeds upto 200km/h and her forehands bounce off the court with speeds up to 160km/h. This is one of the main reasons why she has found immense success in hard court as it is suited for style of play. Osaka also patiently waits in long rallies before finishing with a powerful groundstroke.
Osaka is scheduled to face Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in the first round. She is predicted to win a fifth Grand Slam overall and a third US Open this time. Although in the last few tournaments she has failed to make an impact but it is a different stage and she knows the court well. Osaka can fill in for the veterans who are missing out this time, her blistering forehands can make the spectators curiously wait for the next one in line. The spectators will be allowed and they will be in for a treat as they watch the young generation leading the field.
Osaka should be having no trouble in the first two rounds and after that her path gets a little tricky but she has the potential to take out any opponent. She will be looking for a bright second half of the season, Osaka will face some tough opponents in between like Madison Keys, Aryna Sabalenka and World number one Asheligh Barty who has been the top player this season. She is not new to pressure as has already overcome them in the past. Osaka will hit hard once she steps on court and allow her forehands to orchestrate the audience cheering.
The top players and champions are never counted off in a competition, they will always pose a threat and Osaka is just that person. She is young, aggressive and brave as she will try to break more records and stamp her place in this decade. The US Open starts from 30th August, the roar of the players combined with the audience and the balls firing away in the blue courts. What more can you ask?
Also read: India's singles challenge ends in US Open qualifiers
Novak Djokovic aims to break multiple records, 21st Grand Slam on sight
(Tennis news): There are certain instances in history where the chances of a particular event happening is nearly impossible but everyone wants it to happen as that little desire, that little madness which jumps across logic and imagination takes over statistics and science. Time plays a crucial role here as Rod Laver was the last man to win all the four Grand Slams in a year and it was 52 years ago. Novak Djokovic is chasing history and is en route to become the greatest ever. In a sport that requires stamina, agility, strength and speed, abilities a young 18 year old or a 20 year old should possess but that has not been the case here for the past 17 years. The big four have shattered the stereotypes and broken all physical barriers that built the sport earlier, they have quantum leaped and have rebuilt the game.
Djokovic burst into the Tennis world in 2008 when Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were sharing the spotlight in the court no matter what the surface they played on. It was supposed to be a predictable final but two young gentlemen decided to take matters into their own hands. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga simply broke Nadal’s defense and Djokovic made sure Federer gave him company afterwards. Both the semifinals were whitewashed in straight sets, Tsonga was the biggest surprise as Djokovic had earlier reached the US Open finals in the previous year. Djokovic prevailed in the final over the frenchmen to win his first Grand Slam title.
Djokovic’s breakthrough year was in 2011 where he won three of the four Grand Slams and looked unbeatable the whole year. Even in 2015 he again won three of the four Grand Slams and was sweeping the Masters 1000 titles. But there was one similarity in both the years, he lost in the French Open and both the defeats featured swiss players with one handed backhand. Federer defeated Djokovic in the 2011 semi final of the French Open and Stan Wawrinka defeated him in the 2015 Final. Both the Swiss players won't be playing in this year’s US Open due to an injury and this year things are different, Djokovic not only captured the French Open but defeated Nadal in the semi final. Nadal has won the French Open a record 13 times and Djokovic is the only player to defeat him twice at the French Open.
Djokovic is an aggressive player who has the current best backhand in the world as it is effective on both sides of the court. His defense is outstanding and can turn into a Rahul Dravid when needed, he is very flexible on court and oftens employs it to win some breathtaking points and not to mention his speed. Overall he can perform every possible stunt in the court but has not been impressive in the net play as his smash has been the best on tour. Djokovic is also a great returner of the serve and to serve an ace will require loads of luck and power.
Djokovic has won the US Open three times with the last one coming in 2018 when he defeated Juan Martin Del Potro in the final. Last year he was defaulted from the tournament while accidentally hitting a line official in the throat with a tennis ball during his fourth round match. Djokovic will look to change things this year and continue his exceptional season.
This year Djokovic has played 43 matches and lost only five of them. He won the Australian Open for a record 9th time as he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the title match, won the French Open defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final and won Wimbledon by beating Matteo Berrettini in the final match. Djokovic will look to be in his best shape, especially mentally as he has a lot riding on him and the pressure might get into him as seen in the Tokyo Olympics. But he has been known to have one of the strongest mental games in the sport and has played mind blowing tennis under pressure. Djokovic will face stern competition from Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev. Djokovic has an all round game so tactics won't be much of a use and if he is on form then Rod Laver just might get company.
Djokovic is the favourite to win this time and will take some monumental tennis to shake him up from the top. He is the perfect embodiment of a tennis player and there is no reason why he won’t win his record 21st Grand Slam. Djokovic lost his last match to Zverev but in Grand Slams it is tough to uproot Djokovic and we can expect some shocks in the first few days. Djokovic will look to be calm and only let the court decide who is the winner and keep his racket intact and break the milestones.
Also read: A new chapter is beginning to unfold with the next generation of tennis stars hungrier than ever
A new chapter is beginning to unfold with the next generation of tennis stars hungrier than ever
(Tennis news): In every sport there are moments where a new generation of players take over, the baton is exchanged as the young ones carry legacy forward. In tennis since the late 90s, the William sisters started dominating the Women’s tour, Roger Federer came into the frame in 2003, Rafael Nadal came in 2005 and Novak Djkovic in 2008 and since then these players have taken the sport to new heights. The matches have been nothing short of epic, the courts have seen rallies that brought the spectators to their feet and for over two decades, these athletes have shown extraordinary skills that have kept them on the top of the game for so long.
Only few sports have seen athletes dominating for so long in the international era, Sachin Tendulkar, Carl Lewis, Peter Gade, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo to name a few. It takes years of dedication and hardwork to excel in the field for such a long time, it is even tougher to deal with it when they start ageing. It's only a matter of years when we see some legends of the game retire and watch others script history.
Last year’s US Open saw history in the making as Dominic Thiem became the first male player born in the 90’s to win a Grand Slam title, he finally broke the jinx as it was time for the young stars to shine and take the spotlight. This year, Novak Djokovic has won all the Grand Slams but has faced tough competitions from the younger players. He was outmatched by Alexander Zverev in the Tokyo Olympics Semifinals and will now have to wait three more years for the prestigious Gold. He left Tokyo without a medal after losing in the Bronze medal playoff Djokovic lost to Pablo Carreño Busta.
The 2021 season has seen 6 Masters 1000 tournaments take place, Rafael Nadal was the oldest winner aged 35 as the second oldest is Daniil Medvedev aged 25. Five of the tournaments were won by players born in the 90’s and one was won by Nadal. All the finalists were also born in the 90’s except in Rome where Djokovic lost to Nadal. Times like these are inevitable and happen in every field, although it had not happened in tennis for a very long time.
Also read: Ashleigh Barty back in the US Open, aiming to win her 2nd Major this year
The new generation players have come out in top form in recent times, with Thiem leading with a Grand Slam title, Daniil Medvedev is a two time finalist, Alexander Zverev is a Olympic champion, Stefanos Tsitsipas is also Grand Slam finalist. They have led the younger players and have played some great matches against their idols which brings in the question of who’s next. Who will set the benchmark now, who will lead the force and what new records will be made. Reily Opelka has served his way into the top 25 Singles ranking with a semifinal finish in Rome and a runner up in Toronto Open. Pete Sampras set the bars high when he finished with 14 slams but now records are tumbling in every slam. Serve and volley are not used as much anymore as trickshots and power are winning matches now.
Alexander Zverev has a great return percentage with a steady backhand and he is also very athletic when it comes to drop shops and volleys. Daniil Medvedev is 6 feet 6 inches but his movements on court don't reflect his height as he is very swift and has an unorthodox style in his forehand and backhand, he can cause real damage as he is also mentally tough. Medvedev was booed multiple times last year in the US Open but faced it like a true champion and even said that it's because of the crowd’s behaviour he won certain matches. Tsitsipas reached the finals of the French Open and is expected to strike when he enters the court next week. Andrey Rublev is also a major contender who can use his extremely powerful groundstrokes to finish off points especially in the hardcourt, Nick Kyrgios has had a poor show in recent events but can produce magic when in form.
In the Women’s competition, Naomi Osaka has won four Grand Slams and will turn 24 in two months. She is the defending champion and won her first major title here, Ashleigh Barty also looks to continue her great season forward as she looks to win her second major and 6th title this year. Barbora Krejčíková is having one of the best seasons in Singles ever, she started this year with a ranking of 65 and now is ranked 9th. Barbora won her first Singles Grand Slam by capturing the French Open along with the Doubles title and also won the mixed doubles title in the Australian Open.
The US Open starts from August 30th and many top players have pulled out as injuries have made them rest for now. As older players also take more time to recover, their future endeavours look doubtful. The younger ones look fitter than ever and ready to write a new chapter in the game.
Interesting fact: This is the first time in 24 years that neither Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Venus Williams are not featuring in a Grand Slam draw.
Ashleigh Barty back in the US Open, aiming to win her 2nd Major this year
(Tennis news): Ashleigh Barty will be looking for a third Grand Slam victory at this year’s US Open. She won the French Open two years ago and this year’s Wimbledon. Next, she will try to capture a Grand Slam in the hardcourt too. Barty was at her best in Cincinnati Open as she didn’t lose a set on the way to capturing the title, defeating Victoria Azarenka, Barbora Krejcikova, Angelique Kerber. In the final she overcame Jil Teichmann who upset Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic and Karolina Pliskova. It was supposed to be a tight contest between Barty and Teichmann but Barty proved to be too good.
Barty is a top contender for the US Open as her style is suited for hardcourts as she has won 9 of them out of thirteen career titles in hardcourt. She will also look to improve her previous best in the US Open which is a fourth round finish in 2018 and 2019. Barty won the 2018 US Open doubles title with Coco Vandeweghe thus showing that she is an all round player capable of playing any style. She also has a strong serve and uses efficient volleys as she has also found success in doubles. Barty is leading in aces this year with 297 and has won 74.9 percent of her first serve proving that it will be tough to find a way across her. Barty also has a strong forehand which comes to use while playing cross court or creating sharp angles and her backhand slice can disturb the speed and rhythm of the rally. She has won titles on hardcourt, grass, clay this year which shows she can adapt to any surface
Barty has won five Singles titles this year, she won in Yarra Valley Classic, Miami Open, Stuttgart Open, Wimbledon and the last one coming in Cincinnati. She also won the doubles in Stuttgart partnering with Jennifier Brady. Although she was knocked out in the first round of Tokyo Olympics by Sara Sorribes Tormo from Spain, Barty found success in the mixed doubles as she won the bronze with John Peers. She has the most titles with 5 and most victories with 40 in this WTA Singles season.
Also read: Alexander Zverev waiting to halt Novak Djokovic from a historic Grand Slam victory
Barty did not participate last year due to the pandemic and would try to add the two Slams she hasn’t won yet that includes the Australian Open. She has progressed beyond the quarterfinals in all the Slams except the US Open, this year she looks to be the player to watchout for. Barty will face tough competition from two time champion Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu who also won here in 2019 defeating Serena Williams in the final. Belinda Bencic will also prove to be a tough one to beat as she won the Singles Gold in the Tokyo Olympics and Karolina Pliskova who lost to Barty in the Wimbledon final.
This year’s US open will miss a lot of players due to the injuries, Barty will look to dominate from the start like she did in Cincinnati sending a warning to the other players. She has played over 19 tournaments this year and has a healthy lead over world number 2 Aryna Sabalenka. She has been the World number since 2019 and will look to end the year as number 1 for a third consecutive time. Barty suffered injuries earlier in the year that caused her to miss the French Open and the run up events to Wimbledon but she came back strong by capturing the title on grass. Barty will look to finish the year with a first US Open title and will be waiting to get back on court.
Serena Williams pulls out of US Open due to injured right hamstring
(Tennis news): Six time US Open champion Serena Williams has pulled out of the US Open as she is still recovering from a torn hamstring. Williams last played in the Wimbledon and had to withdraw because of the injury in the first round. She will turn 40 next month and was going to play in her 21st US Open. She won her first title way back in 1999 and her 6th title in 2014.
Also read: US Open to include mental health support for players
Williams did not play in the Tokyo Olympics and pulled out of the Toronto Open. She was hoping to make a comeback in the final slam of the year, with her last major coming in 2017 at the Australian Open. She reached the semifinals last year losing to Victoria Azarenka in three sets and had defeated former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the third round. Many top players have pulled out due to injuries this year as the list keeps getting longer. The US Open will start on the 30th of August.
Nagal, Ramkumar bite dust in US Open qualifiers
New York, Aug 25 (Tennis news) Indian tennis players' struggle at the Grand Slam events continued as both Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan lost their respective first round singles matches to make an exit from the US Open qualifiers, here.
Nagal lost 5-7 6-4 3-6 to Argentina's Juan Pablo Ficovich in two hours and 22 minutes on Tuesday night.
Nagal had played in the Australian Open main draw early this year and had lost in the first round. He could not qualify for the French Open and missed the Wimbledon qualifiers due to an unrevealed injury.
Also read: Bopanna retains place in Indian team for Davis Cup tie against Finland in September
Ramkumar frittered away a one-set advantage to lose 6-4 6-7(1) 4-6 to Russia's Evgeny Donskoy in two hours and 35 minutes in his opening round.
It was Ramkumar's 21st attempt to qualify for the singles main draw of a Grand Slam since 2014.
Prajnesh Guneswaran is the only Indian left in the men's singles qualifiers. The left-hander is up against Canadian Brayden Schnur.
Ankita Raina has also exited after losing her first round in women's singles qualifiers to American Jamie Loeb.
News source: PTI
Serena Willams hoping for a comeback, looking to win first major since 2017
(Tennis news): Serena Williams has been on the Women’s tour since 1995, over her 26 year career, she has won an open era record of 23 Grand Slams, only Margaret Court tops the list with 24 Slams. She has been regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, due to her longevity and ability to excel in all surfaces and also in all categories. She is the only tennis player to complete a career Golden Slam in Singles and Doubles. She will be playing her 21st US Open and has gone beyond the Quarterfinals 11 times in the past 13 years since she did not play in 2010 and 2017.
She does have a special bond with the final year slam as her first US Open title came 23 years ago when she won the mixed doubles with Max Mirnyi. She won the Singles and Doubles title next year beating Martina Hingis in the final who was world number that time as well as defeating defending champion Lindsay Davenport in the semifinal. She paired with her sister Venus Williams to take the doubles title defeating Chanda Rubin and Sandrine Testud in the process. She last won a major in 2017 defeating her sister Venus Williams in the Australian Open and was also eight weeks pregnant with her daughter.
She has won a joint record 6 US Open along with Chris Evert, Serena has also won the doubles title twice and mixed doubles in 1998. She won three successive titles from 2012 to 2014 in Singles. She has also finished as a runner up in Singles four times. When looking at the timeline there was a 15 year gap between her first US Open Singles titles and her last. This shows how long she has stayed at the top of the game, to be a part of two different generations. A generation where serve and volley was the norm to a generation where hard hitting and trickshots have become the rule.
Also read: Alexander Zverev and Ashleigh Barty emerge as champions in Cincinnati
She is known to be a very powerful server and hard hitter from the baseline. Her forehands and backhands are one of the fastest in the tour and at the same time can mix her style with volleying given her doubles experience. She is one of the handful players currently playing who has won Grand Slams in Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Each format requires a different skill set and to be so proficient in them is truly spectacular. She is an all round player given that she has won all the Slams a minimum of three times, which shows her versatility on the court.
She is also very vocal on the court with few of her outbursts making headlines especially in the US Open over the past few years. The most recent one when she had an outburst in the 2018 US Open Singles Final against Naomi Osaka, it was reported that she received hand signals by her coach. She vehemently denied the allegations and went on to argue with the umpire which resulted in her breaking racket. She received code violations, a point penalty and also an in game penalty.
Serena Williams has been one of the flag bearers of Women’s tennis for the past two decades and nobody has been able to topple her in these years. What many people fail to notice is that even after attaining the age of 30 she has won 10 Grand Slams, there are few players who have more than 10 titles in their career but she has gone strong even at that age. She also has won the Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon a record six times, she has won the French Open three times with the last one coming in 2015. She will be turning 40 next month but numbers won’t matter as she has shown in the past that she will always pose a threat. Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty will also be strong contenders and will try to stop Serena. Serena is currently recovering from a leg injury which she suffered from in Wimbledon. She also skipped the Cincinnati Open along with her sister and will be looking to be in good shape as only a week is left for the final Grand Slam of the year.
Injuries piling up this season as Rafael Nadal becomes latest casualty
(Tennis news): Rafael Nadal won't be seen on court until next year as he is still recovering from a foot injury. He is joined by Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem as the players who won’t be playing the remainder of 2021 season. This is the second consecutive time Nadal and Federer won't feature in the year end slam. Nadal played 29 matches this season winning 24 of them and failed to defend his French Open title as he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Djokovic became the first man to beat Nadal twice in French Open and the first man to defeat him in the Semifinals.
Also read: Benoit Paire continues to impress in Cincinnati, Ashleigh Barty shines bright with a stellar performance
In the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals. The Spaniard won two titles this year, both in clay courts. Nadal won the Barcelona Open Masters 500 beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Final and a Masters 1000 title in Rome beating Novak Djokovic in the final. Nadal has also won the US Open four times with his last one coming 2 years ago when he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final. He also missed last year’s US Open due to the pandemic. Nadal completed the career Grand slam when won the US Open in 2010. The 35 year old will look to come back next year and achieve more milestones.
Defending champion Dominic Thiem out of the U.S Open due to injury
(Tennis news): 2020 U.S Open champion Dominic Thiem has pulled out of this year’s Championship due to a wrist injury. He stated he won't be available for the rest of the season and has played 18 matches so far. He also missed out on the Tokyo Olympics and Wimbledon. He has a 9-9 win/ loss record this year, with his last match coming in June at Mallorca. He lost in the 1st round of the French Open to Pablo Andujar and lost in the fourth round to Grigor Dimtrov in the Australian Open. He had won his first Grand Slam last year at the US Open defeating Alexander Zverev after losing the first two sets.
Also read: Jannik, Opelka and Murray stumble in Cincinnati, Halep withdraws due to injury
Thiem had also reached the final of the Australian Open last year where he lost to Novak Djokovic in five sets. He also reached the final of the French Open for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019 losing to Rafael Nadal on both the occasions. He is the first Austrian to win the US Open and the first player born in the 90’s to win a Grand Slam and is one of the most successful players from the next generation. Thiem is known for his powerful groundstrokes and a strong serve, he also adds topspin into his forehand and single backhand which also has a strong slice game to slown rallies. He will be joined by Roger Federer who will be missing the US Open and also the remainder of the season. It will be interesting to see the top 8 in the World tour finals which will conclude the tennis season.
Aditi Ashok and Tvesa Malik endure tough day in Scottish Open
Dumbarnie Links (Scotland), Aug 13 (Golf news) Olympic-returned Indian golfer Aditi Ashok had a disappointing outing at the Scottish Open as she carded a five-over 77 to lie T-129th after the opening round here.
Fellow Indian Tvesa Malik too had a rough start on the first day, shooting a one-over 73 to lie at the 79th spot.
Local favourite Michele Thomson started in style with a seven-under 65, her season-best, for the lead.
The Aberdeen player regrouped after a bogey on the first hole to card an eagle on No. 2 and went on to birdie seven of her final 11 holes of the tournament co-sanctioned by Ladies European and Ladies PGA Tours.
Ashok, who was swamped by interviews on her arrival into Scotland after a superb 4th place at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, will need a great second round to make the cut, while Tvesa too will hope to produce a better show.
Also read: Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri looks to improve FedEx Cup position at Wyndham before play-offs
Tvesa, who came close to winning the Gant Ladies Open, had three birdies against four bogeys, while Aditi had seven bogeys against two birdies.
Thompson, who is managed by former Open winner Paul Lawrie, is making only her 12th appearance in an LPGA Tour event since 2017. Her career-best finish is a tie for 48th at the 2018 ISPS Handa Australian Open.
Two-time LPGA Tour winner Jasmine Suwannapura joins 2020 Tokyo Olympian Anne van Dam and major champion Yuka Saso in a tie for second at five-under.
Suwannapura returned to the links and Scotland for the first time since her runner-up performance at the 2020 AIG Women's Open at Royal Troon.
The 2020 Olympic bronze medallist Lydia Ko is T24 at two-under, while defending champion Stacy Lewis sits in a tie for 35th heading into the second round.
News sorce: PTI
Nagal becomes only third Indian to win a singles match at Olympic with victory over Istomin
Tokyo, Jul 24 (Olympics news) Sumit Nagal on Saturday became only the third Indian tennis player to win a men's singles match at the Olympic Games and the first in 25 years, when he edged past Denis Istomin in a three-setter, here.
Nagal got the better of Istomin 6-4 6-7(6) 6-4 in two hours and 34 minutes on court 10 at the Ariake Tennis Centre to set up a second round clash with world number two Daniil Medvedev.
Zeeshan Ali was the first Indian to win a singles match at the 1988 Seoul Games when he beat Victo Caballero from Paraguay.
After that, the legendary Leander Paes won the historic men's singles bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games, beating Brazil's Fernando Meligeni.
No Indian could win a singles match after Paes' heroic feat even as Somdev Devvarman and Vishnu Vardhan competed at the 2012 Games in London but did not manage to cross the first round hurdle.
"To lose second set from 5-3 and then comeback in the third set in a weather like this, is not easy. Playing for my country gave me the push. I am not sure what I would have done If I were playing at the Challenger, I came out happy from the court," said Nagal after the match.
"It was really hot and humid, weather was terrible, specially when you play around 12 (noon). So we were trying to focus on our serves, it's challenging and I am trying to adpat from clay to hard courts," he added.
Nagal now faces a herculean task as he takes on Australian Open runner-up Medvedev, who beat Kazakhstan's Alexander Bubilk 6-4 7-6(8).
"I am very excited for this match to play the world number two on a big court. That's why we play tennis for, to live for these moments. I am looking forward to it," he said.
The 23-year-old Nagal, who did not come into the Games in his best form, had a break opportunity in the sixth game of the opening set but could not convert.
Also read : Nagal comes through in three sets against Istomin in Tokyo
The Indian, though, did not squander the opportunity when Istomin was serving to stay in the set.
An early break pushed Nagal ahead 2-0 in the second set in which he raced to a 4-1 lead but perhaps nerves got the better of him when he was serving for the match, up 5-3, and dropped his serve.
The experienced Istomin forced a decider by prevailing in the tie-breaker.
The final set was on serve till Nagal got the decisive break.
News source: PTI
Indian tennis players need miracle to go deep in draws
Tokyo, Jul 23 (Tennis news) Indian tennis players need no less than a miraculous performance to get close to the medal rounds as an under-prepared team of Sania Mirza and debutant Ankita Raina faces a tough Ukrainian challenge in the opener while Sumit Nagal has got a tough draw in the singles competition starting Saturday. Mirza, who is making a record fourth Olympic appearance, and debutant Raina are going into the Olympics without playing a single competitive match together this year, which is far from ideal preparation for the biggest sporting event on earth.
The last time Mirza and Raina shared the court was in March 2020 during the Billie Jean King Cup.
They will open their campaign against Ukraine's twin sisters Nadiia and Lyudmyla Kichenok.
"Every match is going to be a challenge and we will take one match at a time. Because Of pandemic and quarantine rules we were playing different tournaments. So after Fed Cup we didn’t get a chance to play together," Raina told PTI.
However, Mirza has tons of experience and she is playing with a player who is known to punch above her weight while representing the nation.
Raina has a big heart for fight but it will all depend on the performance of Mirza, who has not been in the best of form with her serve being an issue.
During the recent Wimbledon championships, Mirza gradually upped her game from the baseline but her feeble serve was easily tackled by the rivals.
Interestingly, when Mirza returned to competitive tennis after the COVID-19 induced break in March this year, she and her Sloveinan partner Andreja Klepac had faced the same Ukrainian sister pair and had prevailed. Ranked as low as 137 post maternity break, 34-year-old Mirza has played only eight matches this season with a 4-4 win-loss record.
Also read: Deemed 'extreme risk' nation, India denied entry into ITF World Junior Finals
The 28-year-old Raina, ranked 100, has just one singles main draw victory to show since the beginning of the 2021 season.
In the doubles, she grabbed her first ever WTA title with partner Kamila Rakhimova at the Phillip Island Trophy in Melbourne in February and broke into doubles top-100 but suffered five straight first round defeats after that.
Had it not been for Mirza's Protected Ranking of nine, India would not have a women's doubles team at the Games.
In complete contrast, Nadiia, ranked 44, had played eight WTA Tour events with her sister Lyudmyla Kichenok, ranked 48, in 2020 and one this year.
Together they did not enjoy much success but Nadiia otherwise had decent results with Romania's Raluca Olaru in 2021.
They won the won St Petersburg (WTA 500) in March and reached the semifinals in Stuttgart (WTA 500) in April and ended runners-up in Bad Homburg last month.
If Mirza and Raina win their opener, they could face American eighth seeds Nicole Melichar (doubles world number 9) and Alison Riske (singles world number 36) in the next round.
In the men's singles, Nagal is extremely lucky to get an entry into the Olympics as with a rank of 144 on the cut-off date of June 14, he was far away from making the cut.
However, a spate of withdrawals pushed him inside.
Nagal's recent performances do not inspire confidence though at the start of the season he had pulled off the biggest victory of his career when he beat then world number 22 Cristian Garin.
However, after that he has managed only two quarterfinal appearances at the Challenger level, struggling badly on the Tour.
Nagal had hinted that he was struggling with some health issues and that was the reason for him not getting the desired results.
He faces Asian Games champion Denis Istomin in his first round. The Uzbekistan veteran had won the quota from the 2018 Jakarta Games by taking the men's singles title.
The grinder that Nagal is, there is a possibility of him getting past the 34-year-old Uzbek but the Indian may next face world number two and Australian Open runner-up Danill Medvedev from Russia and that could be end of the road for him.
News source: PTI
The Golden Slam Awaits Novak Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics
Novak Djokovic is in fine form coming into the Tokyo Olympics 2020, winning the first three Grand Slams of the season. This year he has been creating records at each Grand Slam, in the Australian Open he won a record 9th title, in the French Open he became the first man to defeat Rafael Nadal twice at the French Open, in Wimbledon he won his 100th grass court win and in the US open he will be looking to be the first man in the open era to win all four Grand Slams in a year. More records are waiting for him at the Tokyo Olympics as he will look to win a Golden Slam and become the first male player and the second tennis player after Steffi Graf to do it. He is the favourite to win the title given his form this year and the way it has dominated this season. Ten years ago he gave us a stellar season to watch, as players around the globe were mesmerized by the high quality of tennis. It took the sport to another level as he won three slams that year, defeated Rafael Nadal in six finals at three different surfaces and had a 41 match winning streak that ended in the French Open semifinals where he lost to Roger Federer. He had a phenomenal season in 2015 too where again he won three slams, won 82 matches while losing a mere 6 and won 16 titles including the Grand Slams. These show us that he has the ability to win matches all year long, even if the surfaces change and the venues change. He has the ability to defeat Nadal on clay and Federer on grass and he has done it. He has come out on top every surface, he recently became the first man to win 75 matches in all four Grand Slams.
Age doesn't seem to be slowing him down, this year seems like a sequel to 2011 and 2015. The Olympic Gold medal is something he has to hunt down as he has won every tournament the sport has to offer. His best performance came in the 2008 Beijing Olympics where the Bronze medal, in the 2012 London Olympics he lost to Juan Martin Del Potro in the Bronze medal watch and in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics lost again to Del Potro in the opening match. Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas would love to have their revenge for their loss in the Grand Slam finals. The players need to bring out their best to stop him as it will be a major upset and would be a crucial mental advantage at the US Open. In Olympic news, Alex de Minaur has withdrawn from the Olympics after testing positive, joining this year’s Wimbledon runner up Matteo Berrettini who will not be playing because of a thigh injury. Bets will be in for Djokovic but for someone to pull off an upset would rely on the young guns for sure and the experienced players like Fabio Fognini or Gael Monfils. The tennis event starts on 24th July and will end on August 1st, it will be played on Hard Courts.
Interesting fact: Jennifer Capriati is the youngest tennis player to win an Olympic gold, she was 16 when she won the title in Barcelona 1992.
Also read: Naomi Osaka is looking to triumph at home in the Tokyo Olympics
Indian-origin tennis players Samir Banerjee lifts Wimbledon boys' singles title
London, Jul 11 (Tennis news) Indo-American tennis player Samir Banerjee lifted the Wimbledon boys' singles title on Sunday, a remarkable triumph for the youngster who was testing his skills in a Grand Slam for only the second time in his fledgling career.
All of 17, the player from New Jersey just wanted to win a match at the biggest stage in the junior circuit, but little did he know that he would be the last boy standing at the hallowed grass courts.
And that too when he did not have his coach Carlos Esteban with him since his wife had reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
Up against compatriot Victor Lilov, the teenager won 7-5 6-3 in the summit clash that lasted one hour 22 minutes. He broke his rival thrice and dropped serve only once in the facile triumph.
"It's going to be amazing, this trophy is going to be my centrepiece, I'm going to look at this and be inspired to keep playing and hopefully come back here as a pro," he was quoted as saying by the Wimbledon website.
"I really just wanted to win a round, I didn't expect this. I had a tough French Open, lost to a good player.
"So here I just wanted to keep my expectations low so that if I passed them, then I'd be happy. But this was way beyond my wildest dreams," he said to a round of applause from the crowd.
Since the coach was unavailable, Banerjee 's uncle Kanad accompanied him.
"My uncle is here, he's not technically a tennis coach, but if these results keep happening then I should start travelling with him more," he said jokingly.
As Lilov's backhand sailed over the baseline on match-point, Banerjee dropped his racquet, put both his hands on his head in disbelief as if to say that this was not what he expected to do but still accomplished.
"Remember the name - Samir Banerjee. The American wins his first junior Grand Slam singles title by beating Victor Lilov in the boys' singles final," the official twitter handle of the Championships posted.
Legendary Indian tennis player Vijay Amritraj congratulated Banerjee.
"Wonderful win for Indian American 17 yr old Samir Bannerjee in the boys singles at Wimbledon 2021. Wish him well for a great future," the 67-year old who reached singles quarterfinals at Wimbledon and US Open tweeted.
Banerjee's father Kunal was born in Assam, and his mother Usha was brought up in Andhra Pradesh before both migrated to the USA in the mid-1980s and got married there.
The youngster, reportedly, will take a break from the tour to enroll for a degree in either economics or political science at the Columbia University in the coming months.
Also read: Mirza-Bopanna pair ousted from Wimbledon Championships
While Banerjee's victory is a testament to the system that US Tennis Association has put in place, India has been struggling to field a worthy contender at junior Grand Slams for some time now.
Due to the lack of a robust domestic circuit and not having enough competitions at home to earn world ranking points, India has been struggling to create the next crop of youngsters.
Yuki Bhambri was the last Indian to win a junior singles title when he triumphed at the Australian Open in 2009 while Sumit Nagal won the Wimbledon boys' doubles event in 2015 with Vietnam's Ly Hoang Nam.
Ramanathan Krishnan was the first Indian to win a junior major when he won the 1954 Junior Wimbledon championship.
His son Ramesh Krishnan won the 1970 junior Wimbledon and junior French Open titles while Leander Paes won the 1990 junior Wimbledon and junior US Open.
Paes was also a runner-up at the junior Australian Open.
News source: PTI
Indian tennis players Ankita Raina and Ramkumar Samanathan bow out of French Open Qualifiers
Paris, May 26 Ankita Raina's yet another attempt to qualify for the singles main draw of a Grand Slam failed as she bowed out of the French Open Qualifiers with a second-round defeat, here on Wednesday.
Ankita, up against higher-ranked German Greet Minnen, could win only two games in the entire match that lasted one hour and 21 minutes.
The 125th ranked Indian could convert only one of the three break points and eventually lost 2-6 0-6.
It was Ankita's seventh attempt to crack the singles main draw of a major. She had reached the final round of the Australian Open qualifying event early this year, falling at the final stage.
Ramkumar Ramanathan also crashed out with a tame 1-6 2-6 defeat against Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin.
Sumit Nagal is now the only Indian left in fray for a main draw berth. He will take on Alejandro Tabilo in his second round. New source PTI
Indian tennis player Ankita Raina bows out of French Open Qualifiers
Paris, May 26 Ankita Raina's yet another attempt to qualify for the singles main draw of a Grand Slam failed as she bowed out of the French Open Qualifiers with a second-round defeat, here on Wednesday.
Ankita, up against higher-ranked German Greet Minnen, could win only two games in the entire match that lasted one hour and 21 minutes.
The 125th ranked Indian could convert only one of the three break points and eventually lost 2-6 0-6.
It was Ankita's seventh attempt to crack the singles main draw of a major. She had reached the final round of the Australian Open qualifying event early this year, falling at the final stage.
Later Wednesday, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sumit Nagal will take court for their respective men's singles second round matches. New source PTI
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal withdraw from Miami Open
Ultimate Kho Kho signs a multi-year deal with Sony Pictures Networks India
According to a press release by Ultimate Kho Kho, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) has sealed an exclusive multi-year TV & Digital broadcast deal with 'Ultimate Kho Kho' - India’s first professional Kho Kho league and empowered their commitment in the direction of bringing fast paced “edge of the seat action” to their viewers in the Indian subcontinent.
The league is scheduled to kick-start in 2021 with an objective to captivate audiences and sports fans as Sony Pictures Networks India and Ultimate Kho Kho will present this home-grown sport in its brand new avatar through the lenses of sports technology and innovations, guaranteeing high-octane matches exclusively across SPNI’s sports channels and their OTT platform SonyLIV .
Amit Burman, Dabur Group Chairman and Promoter of the Ultimate Kho Kho said, “Ultimate Kho Kho will bring back the oldest sport packaged in a modern avatar coupled with a new format and a dazzling television product that has the potential to not only revolutionise the sport but also create a unique experience for the audience—something that no one has ever witnessed before.”
The iconic Indian sport of Kho Kho enjoys huge popularity across India due to its simple rules and high-pace format.
Rajesh Kaul, Chief Revenue Officer, Distribution and Head - Sports Business, Sony Pictures Networks India, in a statement, said: “At Sony Pictures Networks, our focus has always been to promote a multi-sport culture in India and Ultimate Kho Kho is a great addition to our sports portfolio. Kho Kho is an extremely popular traditional Indian sport popular across India and we are happy to be on-board and showcase Ultimate Kho Kho to our viewers.”
The league will feature teams comprising men and under-18 from all states across India that are registered with Kho Kho Federation of India.
Player drafts are scheduled for mid-year this year and team owners will be presented with a bank of over 150 Indian players based on their performance and statistics in National and the recent high performance training camp held in February 2021.
Tenzing Niyogi, Chief Executive Officer - Ultimate Kho Kho also stated: “For a sport to be packaged as a brand, it needs to have ‘an edge of the seat’ format, where every minute is a spectacle. Ultimate Kho Kho has been envisioned as an intersection where the passion for a popular homegrown sport meets new age technologies & state of the art formats. We aim to create new champions, celebrate the pride for the sport and take Kho Kho to newer commercial heights.
With Sony Pictures Networks India as our partner, our endeavour is to deliver a compelling product that will attract not only the fancy of the viewers but become a platform for the brands to connect with consumers.”
Airing in English and Hindi with regional commentary on the cards, Ultimate Kho Kho will be broadcasted across four dedicated sports channels. SPNI has been delivering a variety of sports to its audiences through its four dedicated sports channels with broadcast rights for the top sports properties like Australia, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe , Ireland cricket , WWE, UFC, Impact Wrestling, Australian Open, UEFA Champions League, Europa League, Nations League & Euro 2020, Serie A, Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, FA Cup among others.