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Rediff.com  » Sports » Tennis round-up: Azarenka to miss US Open over child custody battle

Tennis round-up: Azarenka to miss US Open over child custody battle

August 22, 2017 12:41 IST

Victoria Azarenka

IMAGE: Victoria Azarenka. Photograph: Kena Betancur/Reuters

Two-time grand slam winner Victoria Azarenka has withdrawn from the US Open as she is not allowed to take her baby son out of California amid a custody battle with her former partner.

 

The 28-year-old Belarusian returned to action in June, after the birth of her son Leo last December, and had been hopeful that legal arrangements could be worked out to allow her to compete in the August 28-September 10 grand slam in New York.

"I am sadly unable to compete in this year's US Open due to my ongoing family situation that I am working through," former world number one Azarenka, a finalist at Flushing Meadows in 2012 and 2013, said in a statement.

"While I will dearly miss being in New York and playing in one of my favourite tournaments where I have enjoyed some of the best moments in my career, I am already looking forward to being back next year."

Due to the custody battle, Azarenka is unwilling to leave her son behind in California, where she has a home and where her child was born.

In an open letter posted on social media last week, Azarenka said no one should ever have to decide between a child and their career. She also said the only way she could play in the US Open is if she left her child behind in California, which she was not willing to do.

Since returning to action, Azarenka has reached the last 16 at the Mallorca Open in June and Wimbledon.

Azarenka's withdrawal has opened up a place for Japan's Misa Eguchi in the main draw at the year's final grand slam.

Integrity unit assessing Dolgopolov-Monteiro match

Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov

IMAGE: Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) have confirmed they are looking into a match between Alexandr Dolgopolov and Thiago Monteiro after concerns were raised over suspicious betting patterns surrounding the contest on Sunday.

A spokesman for the TIU, the anti-corruption body that covers all professional tennis around the world, told Reuters on Monday that they were making an assessment of the match while also insisting that no formal investigation had been launched.

Brazil's Monteiro beat Ukrainian Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-3 at the Winston-Salem Open, an ATP 250 event in the US, in Sunday's first round match.

Monteiro, ranked 114 in the world, took just 55 minutes to beat Dolgopolov, who was ranked 51 places higher at 63, in a match which saw the Ukrainian fail to earn even one break point.

Dolgopolov had been the pre-match favourite but in the hours leading up to the match, so much money was placed on Monteiro that he started the match as an odds-on chance. It prompted several leading bookmakers to stop taking bets.

The TIU statement on Monday said it had been "made aware of concerns over betting patterns during the match.

"As with all match alerts, the TIU will assess, make a judgement and take appropriate action on the information received through its co-operative agreements with betting operators."

Zhang upsets Kvitova in first round of Connecticut Open

China's Shuai Zhang celebrates during her match against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova during Day 4 of the Connecticut Open at Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, on Monday

IMAGE: China's Shuai Zhang celebrates during her match against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova during Day 4 of the Connecticut Open at Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, on Monday. Photograph: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Petra Kvitova lost 6-2, 6-1 to Shuai Zhang of China in the first round of the Connecticut Open to start her prep for the US Open on a low note.

The Czech player returned to the tour at the French Open in May after she was stabbed during a home invasion in December, leaving her dominant left hand seriously injured.

Zhang, ranked 29th, was playing her first match in the United States since April.

"I just arrived in New Haven last night, coming straight from China," she said.

"It's a big change. It's 12 hours' time difference. Before the match I was still sleeping."

On Monday, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard breezed past higher-ranked American Lauren Davis 6-3, 6-1. Bouchard, a wild-card entry, next faces top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska.

In other matches, Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium beat Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-2, 6-3, and Romania's Ana Bogdan got past Russia's Elena Vesnina, 7-5, 7-5.

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