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The RFT sweep past Germany

The Davis Cup favourites, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, representing the Russian Tennis Federation rather than their country as it is banned from international competition for state doping violations, cruised into the final at the Caja Magica in Madrid, after...

Darlene Hard dies at 85

Darlene Hard, winner of 21 major titles in the 1950s and 60s, has died at the age of 85 in Los Angeles on Thursday at the Northridge Hospital after a brief illness, according to Mona Cravens, Director of Student Publications at the University of Southern California,...

Croatia knock Serbia out

Novak Djokovic's dream of leading Serbia to a second Davis Cup title was shattered on Friday when neighbours, Croatia, twice former campions, knocked them out of this year’s competition at the semi-final stage.

China pushes back on WTA decision to suspend Chinese tournaments

The diplomacy war is hotting up over the Peng Shuai affair, with China objecting to the WTA politicising sport and the IOC maintaining its quiet approach under on-going criticism, while the ATP and ITF fail to follow the WTA’s lead.

The RFT slip into the DC semis

Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev as expected, led the Russian Tennis Federation – Russia itself has been banned from international competition for state doping – to the semi-finals of this year’s reformatted Davis Cup brushing Sweden aside 2-0.

WTA suspends business with China

The WTA is making good on its threat to pull its business out of China by announcing that it will suspend tournaments in both China and Hong Kong unless the Chinese authorities take steps to address Peng Shuai’s allegations of sexual abuse and concerns for her welfare...

Djokovic pulls Serbia through to semis

Serbia reached the reformatted Davis Cup semi-finals in Madrid with a 2-1 victory over Kazakhstan after the world No.1 Novak Djokovic came to the team’s rescue.

Konta retires

Former British No 1 Johanna Konta announced her retirement from competitive tennis at the age of 30 on Wednesday in London.

Why Peng Shuai remains of grave concern

The headlines may have died down, but Peng Shuai’s situation remains of grave concern as fears grow that the authorities in China are keeping the former Doubles World No 1 under wraps and preventing her from speaking freely.

Germany squeeze past Britain to reach Madrid.

In the second of the Davis Cup quarterfinals Germany upset Great Britain, squeezing past the favourites in Innsbruk 2-1 to make the Madrid semi-finals later in the week.
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Rogers ousts Andreescu as seeds advance in Chicago

Things are hotting up at the Chicago Fall Classic, with former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu sent packing in straight sets by Shelby Rogers and Victoria Azarenka battling past Hailey Baptiste to set up a blockbuster meeting with Garbiñe Muguruza on Thursday.

The time went really quick and I'm really happy that I chose to come back and with the win today as well. It's never easy to play against Amanda. She's striking the ball really well and she's a great competitor. It's been a good day for me today and I'm really happy I finished the match in two sets. I had to really stay focused... and stay competitive. Elina Svitolina

Also reaching the last 16 were top seed Elina Svitolina, Belinda Bencic and Elena Rybakina, but Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 4th seed, fell to Marketa Vondrousova and Anett Kontaveit had to withdraw through injury.

Britain’s lucky loser Harriet Dart also fell on Wednesday, at the hands of Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova, the No 12 seed, 6-3 6-4.

Kudermetova next faces Rybakina, the 5th seed from Kazakstan, who got past Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-4 6-4.

Andreescu, the 8th seed from Canada, who has failed to win back-to-back matches in 7 out of her past 8 tournaments on the WTA Tour, lost to Rogers, 6-4 7-5, after an hour 53 minutes.

The American, ranked 43, got the first opportunity to break at 3-2, which was enough for her to ride out the set against the World No 20 and former US Open champion.

The second proved a bit more complicated after Rogers snagged another early break to go up 3-1, but Andreescu managed to level the set at 5 games apiece when the American was serving for the match.

It was a short-lived reprieve, though, as Rogers came through the next lengthy game, breaking for the last time before serving it out.

28-year-old Rogers saved 7 of 8 break points in picking up her 6th victory of the season against a Top 20 player, including her upset of World No 1 Ash Barty at Flushing Meadows last month, where she reached the 4th round at the US Open before losing to eventual champion Emma Raducanu.

Rogers had only 14 winners to Andreescu’s 27, but the Canadian more than doubled the American’s unforced error count, by 35 to 16, and while each held 8 break points during the match, Rogers converted 3 of her chances, while Andreescu only made good on one.

The American, who is now 24-19 in 2021, faces the Japanese qualifier Mai Hontoma, who advanced after receiving a walkover from Anett Kontaveit, the 11th seed from Estonia, who pulled out due to a left thigh injury.

“I am sad to have to withdraw from my match today but I need to listen to my body this late in the season,” Kontaveit said in a statement. “Thank you to the tournament for hosting us, and I wish them and the players luck the rest of the week.”

Kontaveit, who won the Ostrava WTA tournament in the Czech Republic on Sunday, had played against Madison Brengle from the USA in her first round match in Chicago with a taped-up leg and, while she won the encounter in straight sets, the injury gave rise to concern.

“Nothing is broken, but things tend to pile up while playing,” she said at a later press conference.


Victoria Azarenka came back from a break down in the 3rd set to outlast 19-year old wild-card Hailey Baptiste

© Timothy A Clary/AFP via Getty Images

In the last match of the day, Azarenka came back from a break down in the 3rd set to outlast 19-year old American wild-card Baptiste, 6-2 4-6 6-3.

A whopping 20 of the Belarusian’s 21 career WTA singles titles have come on hard-courts, 9 coming in the United States, and the No 14 seed kept herself in the hunt for more after her 2-hour 7-minute victory.

She almost did not make her meeting with fellow former World No 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza in the round of 16, though, after letting a hefty lead slip away before regrouping in the decider over Baptiste, who is ranked 174.

Cruising through the opening set, Azarenka faced a sterner challenge in the second, as the teenager used her sturdy forehand to stay with the Belarusian through to 5-4 when, inexplicably, the No 14 seed coughed up 4 double-faults to lose the set.

Baptiste kept the momentum at the start of the third, moving ahead 3-0, but Azarenka held firm to pull back on serve at 3-2 with an error-forcing forehand on break point.

Experience eventually won out as Azarenka collected the final 6 games to edge out the win.

Baptiste finished the match with 28 winners to Azarenka’s 18, and had only one more unforced error than the Belarusian, but Azarenka created more chances to break, going 6 for 10 on break points, while the American count was 3 for 5.

Earlier, Czech Olympic silver medallist Vondrousova upset No 4 seed Pavlyuchenkova, 6-3 6-2.

In the first meeting between the two, 2019 Roland Garros runner-up Vondrousova defeated this year’s Roland Garros runner-up Pavlyuchenkova after an hour 12 minutes of play.

The World No 41 picked on the Russian’s second serve, winning 70 percent of those points, which helped her convert 6 of her 7 break points.

Vondrousova will now face No 16 seed Jil Teichmann of Switzerland for a spot in the quarter-finals, who dispatched Magda Linette from Poland, 6-2 6-4.


Top seed Elina Svitolina saw off Amanda Anisimova in straight sets in Chicago on Wednesday

© Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Elsewhere, Jessica Pegula got through Andrea Petkovic of Germany in straight sets, 6-2 7-5, while Elina Svitolina the top seed at the tournament this week beat another American Amanda Anisimova, 6-4 6-3.

After capturing the Chicago Women’s Open in August prior to the US Open, Svitolina kept her unbeaten streak going on Wednesday, breaking serve 5 times in all to wrap up a comprehensive 80-minute victory.

“The time went really quick and I’m really happy that I chose to come back and with the win today as well,” Svitolina said on-court after the match. “It’s never easy to play against Amanda.

“She’s striking the ball really well and she’s a great competitor. It’s been a good day for me today and I’m really happy I finished the match in two sets.

“I had to really stay focused… and stay competitive.”

Despite hitting twice Svitolina’s winners, 19 to 9, Anisimova also hit 30 unforced errors to the Ukrainian’s 12.

Svitolina will next face Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse for a spot in the quarter-finals, saw off another Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova, 7-5 6-2, in Wednesday’s second round.

Meanwhile, Bencic, the Olympic gold medallist and No 3 seed, overcame 10 double-faults and some first-set frustration to beat Australian qualifier Maddison Inglis, 5-7 6-1 6-0.

A semi-finalist at the 2019 US Open and a quarter-finalist there this month, when she lost to Raducanu, Bencic got into an argument with the chair umpire at 5-5 about over-ruling line calls, and Ingils took the next point with a net-cord winner, prompting the Swiss to spin around and throw her racket into the backstop.

In the next game, Ingils broke to take the set with the help of a pair of Bencic’s double-faults, including on the last point, but after making 21 unforced errors in that set, the Swiss cleaned up her game and took advantage of some shaky serving by the Aussie.

“I think the biggest adjustment I made was putting my serve in the court sometimes,” Bencic said after the match. “I definitely had a lot of trouble with that, but I tried to stay calm, tried play every point, not think about the score and just go for it.”

Bencic was a quarter-finalist in both Luxembourg and Ostrava indoors in Europe over the last two weeks, but admitted that it was difficult to adjust to the outdoor conditions against an opponent who was already in-rhythm, and one she had never faced before.

“There’s 11 months of travelling throughout the year so we can’t expect to play great every match,” she added.

“Travelling [between] USA and Europe, indoors to outdoors, it’s very difficult. The level [between players] is very near so when you’re not at your best, then your opponent has a chance to win.

“You definitely study them and how they play, and how their tactics are, but you don’t feel how they play. It’s a huge difference.”

Bencic now faces Czech Tereza Martincova, who eliminated No 13 seed and French Open semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek from Slovenia, 6-2 7-5.

Thursday’s schedule of play features Jessica Pegula against Ons Jabeur, Elise Mertens taking on another American in Danielle Collins, and Svitolina facing Ruse, with the last match of the day, a blockbuster between Azarenka and Muguruza.




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