US Open Champion Osaka Withdraws From French Open

(FILES)Naomi Osaka, who captured her third Grand Slam title at the US Open on September 12, pulled out of the upcoming French Open with a hamstring injury on September 17.
“Unfortunately I won’t be able to play the French Open this year,” Osaka said in posts on Instagram and Twitter. (Photo by MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

 

Naomi Osaka, who captured her third Grand Slam title at the US Open on September 12, pulled out of the upcoming French Open with a hamstring injury on Thursday.

“Unfortunately I won’t be able to play the French Open this year,” Osaka said in posts on Instagram and Twitter. “My hamstring is still sore so I won’t have enough time to prepare for the clay – these two tournaments came too close to each other for me this year.”

The French Open is due to start on September 27 at Roland Garros, rescheduled from earlier in the year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, Osaka rallied from a set down to beat Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the US Open women’s final, adding a third major trophy after her victories at the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open triumphs.

The 22-year-old was the first woman to win the US Open singles final from a set down since 1994, and the victory moved her to third in the WTA rankings.

She also became the first Asian player to win three Grand Slams, overtaking China’s Li Na on two.

Osaka had gone into the US Open at Flushing Meadows with fitness concerns.

She pulled out of the WTA final of the Western & Southern Open — also held this year at Flushing Meadows — with a left hamstring injury just two days before the start of the Grand Slam in New York.

She said she pulled the muscle in her semi-final victory.

Osaka played her US Open matches with her left thigh heavily strapped, but showed no sign the injury hindered her.

The US Open, normally the final Grand Slam in a season, was just the second major to be played in 2020 after the Australian Open in January.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought tennis to a halt along with the rest of global sport, with Wimbledon cancelled completely and Roland Garros moved from its usual May start to September 27-October 11.

Unlike the US Open, organizers at Roland Garros will admit fans, although it was announced Thursday that the number of spectators will be limited to 5,000 per day.

Organizers had originally hoped to accommodate 20,000 spectators per day.

Defending women’s champion Ashleigh Barty of Australia announced earlier this month that she would not defend her title because she feared participation still carried health risks and because she had not been able to train properly with her coach because of the state border closures in Australia.

 

 

-AFP

Williams sisters to seek fourth doubles gold medal in Rio

 Talking of preparations meeting determination, Williams sisters; Serena and Venus served that fact when they confidently said during a press conference in Lagos that they are ready to play the tennis doubles at the 2016 Rio Games for a chance to win their fourth gold medal.

The sisters will be playing an exhibition match with each other on Friday at the Ikoyi Club in Lagos; Nigeria while they are on a two-nation tour, the second country being South Africa as they were accompanied by their mum Oracene Price.

Though, Rio 2016 is still four years away from now, but the tennis iconic stars revealed that their preparation is in top gear as the sisters could not hide their excitement on the thought of their doubles defence come 2016 in Brazil.

“It’s our main goal,” Serena Williams said. “We were talking … about how we can’t wait to get to Rio. And obviously, bearing that we’re both healthy, that’s our goal to be there.”

And talking of fitness, on Sunday, little sister Serena beat top-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-4 to win the WTA Championships final in Istanbul.

Venus and Serena teamed to win 13 Grand Slam doubles titles and won Olympic gold in doubles in 2000, 2008 and 2012.

This year, the sisters beat Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4 at the London Games.

Williams sisters arrive Nigeria for women’s rights tour

American tennis super-stars Serena and Venus Williams on Tuesday arrived the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos at about 3p.m (local time) with officials of ‘Breaking The Mould,’ BTM campaign who were on ground to receive them.

The visit of the Williams sisters is part of a two-nation tour that will see them play exhibition matches and train kids is aimed at promoting women’s rights.

The sisters having shared 22 major women’s singles championships between them are amongst the world’s and United States’ most successful athletes and their trip is aimed at promoting “the role that women play in shifting perceptions and encouraging development at all levels across the African continent”.

The sisters could only say a few words to pressmen at the airport as security operatives whisked them away immediately they arrived.

The Williams are scheduled to pay the Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola a courtesy at the State House on Wednesday, after which they will head to a tennis clinic at Ikoyi Club, visit a puberty education class for girls then play an exhibition match and head to South Africa on Friday, November 2nd.

The Williams sisters have played each other competitively in 23 professional matches since 1998, with Serena winning 13 of these matches. Their overall head-to-head series is 13–10.

Serena who is currently ranked number 3 in the world has played Venus 12 times in Grand Slam singles tournaments and 11 times in other tournaments (including 11 finals).

They have met in eight Grand Slam finals, with Serena winning six times. Beginning with the 2002 French Open, they played each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, which was the first time in the open era that the same two players had contested four consecutive Grand Slam finals.

Djokovic cruises into Shanghai final with Berdych defeat

Novak Djokovic got into the Shanghai final gallantly and can now boast of an ATP Tour-leading 69-11 match record for the season as he secured a break in just the second game of the match to take control of the opening set, before taking it for the loss of just three games.

Berdych was always behind in the match, and he was unable to match the world number two in the second set as Djokovic closed it out efficiently to improve his head-to-head record over the Czech to 10-1 while securing his place in the final.

Djokovic will next take on the winner of two-time defending champion Andy Murray’s semi-final clash with world number one Roger Federer in the Shanghai showpiece.

U.S. Open Final 16:18 year old Robson stuns Li Na

Laura Robson has landed herself in the last 16 of the U.S. Open taking place in New York as she ran over China’s Li Na.

The 18-year-old became the first British women to reach the final 16 at the US Open since 1991 as she now focuses on her next opponent.

Robson was in fine form at the Louis Armstrong Stadium with a fantastic 6-4 6-7 6-2 victory over the 2011 French Open champion.

Speaking after the match, Robson, who also knocked out Kim Clijsters earlier in the tournament, said she knew that if she kept sticking with Li Na and playing her shots it might payoff for her and she is glad that the game plan paid off even though she lost the few break points she had had to the her much more experience opponent but she took her chance when it showed up.

Commenting on Li Na, Robson said she is a great hitter and she will have to go back to the gym to recover for her next match as she will now be facing Aussie Samantha Stosur in the next round.

Olympic Tennis: Williams Sisters into doubles semi finals

They were full of zeal, eagerness as the Williams sisters Venus and Serena powered their way through to the Olympic tennis doubles semi-finals today.

It was a match so tensed that there was collision between the sisters when a shot came for Serena to hit, the shot was taken eventually and they got the point for the shot on their way to securing their much desired win with a 6-1,6-1 score against the Italian duo of No. 2-seeded Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.

Venus and Serena has been on a jolly ride since the beginning of the London 2012 Olympics as they are yet to lose a set throughout the three rounds of each engagement against any opponent which is why they say they are very sure of a medal in this tournament.

The sisters are seeking their third gold medal in doubles while Venus seeks a record fourth gold medal in tennis.

Serena is also into the semi-finals in singles.

Knee injury forces Rafa Nadal out of Olympic

Spain will pass as one of the countries to miss a major athlete on their national line-up as tennis superstar Rafa Nadal withdrew from the London Olympic Games team for Spain due to a persistent knee problem on Thursday.

Nadal who has won the French Open title a record seven times, crashed out in the second round at Wimbledon in a big upset against lowly ranked Czech Lukas Rosol.

Earlier this month, he pulled out of a charity match against Novak Djokovic at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium saying he was suffering from tendinitis and needed to rest.

Four years ago in Beijing the Spaniard brushed aside other contenders to settle in for the biggest prize in his sport the gold medal but will be missed terribly in London as he won’t be able to defend his title and also he was to be the flag-bearer for Spain at the opening ceremony, an honour bestowed on him.

However, the Spanish tennis federation has announced that he is to be replaced by Feliciano Lopez in the singles and the doubles with Marcel Granollers but as for his replacement on who to bear the flag the Spanish Olympic Committee has not concluded.

Nadal had hoped to return to Wimbledon this month to defend his Olympic title and his withdrawal echoes his plight of 2009 when a similar knee problem meant he had to withdraw from the grass court grand slam, a year after winning it for the first time in an epic final against Roger Federer.

The Spaniard said sadly that he is not a good condition to go into competition and admitted that this is one of his saddest moments in the game.

Now rated number three in the world, he confessed that he wants to be unselfish about the whole issue because ahead of him is his country and national team so he is placing the Spanish sport into a better position in that he should allow some fitter in term of preparedness to take his place because Spain will stand a better chance with that.

Rome Masters: Serena blasts past Petrova to reach 3rd round

Fierce-fighting Serena Williams showed her usual style of fierceness on the clay court against Nadia Petrova from a set down to blast past the Russian in the second round of the $2.2 million clay court tournament, the Rome Masters.

Seeded ninth on the table of ranking, Serena showed her worth when with a little over two hours dispatched Petrova with a final score line of 4-6,6-2,6-3 to emerge winner.

The 13-time Grand Slam winner is to face Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain in the third round.

In the women’s draw, Maria Sharapova reached the third round with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over American Christina McHale on Tuesday, but will not be joined by her fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who lost 7-5, 6-4 to world No. 4 Petra Kvitova.

Also, world No. 9 Juan Martin del Potro ended the Russian men’s charge after knocking out the country’s No. 1 Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 6-2.

The only other Russian man in the Rome draw, Alex Bogomolov Jr., lost in the first round to 13th seed Gael Monfils of France 6-4, 6-1.