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Rediff.com  » Sports » Tennis round-up: Serena Williams withdraws from Rogers Cup

Tennis round-up: Serena Williams withdraws from Rogers Cup

Last updated on: August 04, 2018 21:26 IST

Serena Williams

IMAGE: Serena Williams. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Rogers Cup in Montreal for "personal reasons", Tennis Canada said on Saturday, delaying the 23-time grand slam winner's start to the North American hardcourt season.

Tennis Canada said Williams's decision to pull out was made for personal reasons but did not elaborate.

"Of course, we are disappointed that Serena will not be joining us. Fans were very much looking forward to seeing her in action,” tournament director Eugene Lapierre said in a statement. “But beyond the disappointment, the tournament, as a whole, remains a high-level competition.

"The entire top 10 is here, along with 22 of the top 25. There are exciting matches in store from the outset.”

The tournament opens on Monday with world number one Simona Halep as the top seed and Caroline Wozniacki, who pulled out of the Citi Open earlier this week with a leg injury, number two.

Williams, who has not played since losing the Wimbledon final to Germany's Angelique Kerber last month, will have her place in the draw taken by Germany's Tatjana Maria.

The 36-year-old American has been making a slow but steady return to competitive tennis since returning in March following the birth of her first child Alexis Olympia.

 Fatigued Murray withdraws from Citi Open, Rogers Cup

Andy Murray is congratulated by Romania's Marius Copil after winning the marathon match at the Citi Open that lasted over three hours on Thursday

IMAGE: Andy Murray is congratulated by Romania's Marius Copil after winning the marathon match at the Citi Open that lasted over three hours on Thursday. Photograph: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Former World No 1 Andy Murray withdrew from the Citi Open on Friday, citing fatigue.

The returning Scot also announced his withdrawal from next week's Rogers Cup in Toronto.

He was to have met Australian Alex de Minaur in the Washington quarter-finals on Friday.

"I’m exhausted after playing so much over the past four days, having not competed on the hard courts for 18 months.

 

I also need to be careful and to listen to my body as I come back from a long-term injury," Murray said in a statement.

"I’m gutted not to be playing and I’d like to thank the tournament and all the fans.

"There are lots of positives to take from this week, so I’ll take some time to rest and recover, and then head to Cincinnati early to prepare and get ready."

In his third tournament back from hip surgery in January, the Scot showed signs of improvement, reaching his first quarter-final in more than a year.

The 31-year-old captured all three of his victories in three sets, the first time he has won three consecutive deciding sets at the same event since winning the 2016 Queen's Club tournament.

An emotional Murray broke down in tears after coming from behind to defeat Marius Copil 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(4) in a marathon third round match that lasted more than three hours on Thursday.

Venus falls in quarter-final at Silicon Valley Classic

Venus Williams suffered an upset 6-4, 7-6(2) defeat at the hands of Greece’s Maria Sakkari on Friday in the quarter-final of the Silicon Valley Classic.

The 38-year-old Williams held a 3-0 lead in the opening set and was up 5-3 in the second but could not hold off a relentless opponent 15 years her junior. Williams has not advanced past the third round of a tournament since March and has yet to find the form that helped her reach two Grand Slam finals in 2017.

World No. 49 Sakkari has moved through her first three matches without dropping a set. She needed one hour and 43 minutes to beat Williams, and saved two set points in the second set in the process.

Sakkari will now face American Danielle Collins who moved into the semis after former world number one Victoria Azarenka retired injured when trailing 3-0 in the second set after claiming the first in a tiebreaker.

It will be the second semi-final of the year for Collins.

Johanna Konta was also sent packing after a 7-6(4) 6-3 quarter-final loss to fourth seed Elise Mertens.

The Briton had opened the tournament with a bang on Tuesday when she shocked 23-times grand slam champion Serena Williams 6-1 6-0, the worst loss of the American great’s career.

Konta was unable to recreate the magic, however, instead squandering a 5-2 lead in the opening set against the Belgian before bowing out meekly.

Mertens, bidding for her fourth title of the year, moves into a semi-final against fifth seeded Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Perfect six as Klizan wins Kitzbuehel title

Slovakia's Martin Klizan beat fellow qualifier Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-2 6-2 on Saturday to win the Kitzbuehel Open.

Claycourt specialist Klizan was in dominant form as he took his record in ATP Tour finals to 6-0.

Saturday's showdown was only the second all-qualifier final since 1990 and Klizan needed only 68 minutes to finish it off.

"I think my performance today was the best of the tournament," the 112th-ranked Klizan said. "I did a great job today and I deserved to win. I played a very solid game."

The 29-year-old converted all four of his break points as he added a fourth career claycourt title to his collection.

"Sometimes in the finals I was lucky, sometimes it was hard work and sometimes I was better on court. You never know what is going to happen," Klizan said of his exemplary record in finals.

"I am just happy to have that kind of statistic, winning six titles from six finals. In doubles, I have four titles from four finals... It is very good and I am very proud."

Klizan's route to the title included taking out top seed and home favourite Dominic Thiem in the second round.

His ranking slumped last year after a calf injury but he will rocket back into the top 100 next week.

ITF confident $3 billion Davis Cup revamp will secure tennis' future

The International Tennis Federation has hit back at accusations that there has been a lack of transparency about the proposed revamp of the Davis Cup and is confident the new plans will deliver long-term benefits to players, nations and sponsors.

Tennis Australia had said in a strongly worded letter seen by Reuters that it planned to "vote against the proposed amendments" at the ITF's Aug. 13-16 AGM in Orlando, Florida since the reform process has been "far from transparent".

Tennis Europe, a regional governing body representing 50 member nations, also said it opposed the ITF's plans to transform the 118-year-old Davis Cup into an 18-team, one-week season finale that is due to be held in November 2019.

However, the ITF said the new World Cup of Tennis Finals will safeguard the future of the sport as it is being set up in a 25-year, $3 billion partnership with investment group Kosmos and also has the backing of Wimbledon, French and U.S. Open officials.

"The ITF has travelled extensively to consult with all stakeholders in tennis and incorporated their feedback to develop a reform package for the Davis Cup which delivers long-term benefits for players, nations, fans, sponsors and broadcasters," the ITF said in a statement on Saturday.

"Rigorous due-diligence has been undertaken by independent experts and the ITF has complete confidence in its partners, Kosmos, to deliver these transformational reforms."

Tennis Europe said there was no clarity about how Kosmos, which was founded by Barcelona and Spain soccer player Gerard Pique, plans to guarantee "US$120 million per year which would be the $3 billion deal over 25 years".

The ITF's shake-up of the Davis Cup has been undermined after the men's governing body, the ATP, announced plans to introduce a rival 24-team World Team Cup, offering $15 million in prize money plus ranking points, into the calendar from early 2020 in Australia. The ATP's venture is endorsed by Tennis Australia.

A smaller World Team Cup was held from 1978 to 2012 in Duesseldorf, Germany but offered no ranking points. The new competition is expected to be a part of the build-up to January's Australian Open.

The prospect of staging two rival team competitions within a few weeks in a crowded men's calendar has put the ITF and ATP on a collision course as many players may opt to compete in only one of the events.

"We are focused on more than protecting the interests of any one nation; we are focused on doing what is best for the whole of tennis," the ITF said.

"The reforms the ITF is proposing will secure the Davis Cup's long-term status. The ITF... is the only body in tennis that invests in the future development of tennis and the Davis Cup is critical to generating the revenue to fund this development."

The ITF's revamped Davis Cup plans to bring together the 16 leading nations plus two wildcards in one city for a week-long climax to the season.

While it has left traditionalists mourning the loss of the home-and-away format that can generate partisan atmospheres, the ITF and its partners said it was necessary to "modernise and evolve to adapt to the demands of the 21st century".

"The tennis landscape has changed significantly from when the Davis Cup competition was set up more than 100 years ago, but its heritage is its strength, and it remains a competition of considerable importance to the players and to the nations participating in it," All England Club and Wimbledon chairman Philip Brook said.

"The AELTC believes that it is in the best interests of tennis to ensure that the Davis Cup has a strong and successful future, and is therefore supportive of the proposals of the ITF and the Kosmos group to address the challenges currently faced by the Davis Cup."

Speaking about the US Open's support, United States Tennis Association President Katrina Adams said: "Along with innovating and inspiring fans to engage with Davis Cup, the commercial partnership with Kosmos is unprecedented and their investment will provide worldwide opportunities to grow the sport and build upon the success and history of the Davis Cup."

French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli added: "It is a significant moment that three Grand Slam boards have now pledged their official support for this change, which we know is needed for the future of tennis.

"We have a great opportunity to change tennis worldwide with this proposed partnership with Kosmos... we have an opportunity to make history and create an ITF legacy."

Petkovic reaches semis at rain-delayed Citi Open

Unseeded German Andrea Petkovic reached the Citi Open semi-finals for the second consecutive year, beating sixth seed Belinda Bencic 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(8) on Friday.

The 2013 runner-up rallied from a set down to defeat second seed Sloane Stephens on Thursday, and continued her momentum at the Washington DC event.

"I thought I was really solid throughout the whole match," Petkovic told reporters.

"She played really well in the second set and then in the third set, it was just a momentum swing, up-and-down and emotions.

"I just tried to stay in the moment and within myself, and do the things I needed to do.

"In the nail-biting tiebreak, Petkovic led 5-2 but had to save three match points before converting her first to seal her spot in the final four.

The 30-year-old will next face the winner of the match between eighth seed Yulia Putintseva and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The two competitors had their match delayed by rain with Kuznetsova having won the opening set and the second set tied 2-2.

Seven seed Croatian Donna Vekic was leading 3-0 over Magda Linette in the opening set when play was suspended.

China’s Saisai Zheng had her match against American Allie Kiick postponed until Saturday.

Source:
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