Swiatek blasts Bencic to win Adelaide International

Iga Swiatek added the Adelaide International trophy to her French Open title on Saturday when she overpowered Belinda Bencic in the final at Memorial Drive, 6-2 6-2.

Albot edges closer to number two

Radu Albot is the first Moldovan to win an ATP Tour title and, keen to add to that tally, he has negotiated his way to the semi-finals of the Singapore Tennis Open with a straight sets victory over the top seed, Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

Schwartzman fails to join colleagues

The semi-finals of the Cordoba Open in Argentina features three of their nationals and a Spaniard who prevented an Argentine clean sweep of the event by ousting the top seeded Diego Schwartzman in three sets.

Bautista Agut and Goffin on course for final

The top two seeds – the only remaining seeds at the event – remain on course to meet in the final of the Open Sud de France ATP Tour 250 tournament in Montpelier.

Battle of Britain returns

Andy and Jamie Murray are to team up on home soil for Scotland against England in what the latter describes as a "super exciting" Battle of the Brits.

Swiatek sweeps into Adelaide final to meet Bencic

French Open champion Iga Swiatek swept into the final of the Adelaide International with an emphatic 6-3 6-2 win over Jil Teichmann on Friday, and she will meet Belinda Bencic on Saturday, who held off Coco Gauff to advance, 7-6(2) 6-7(4) 6-2.

Wild card Ebden upsets seeded compatriot

Former world No.39, Aussie Matthew Ebden, who slipped down the rankings to 319 following a serious foot injury, is proving he is fit and ready to climb back up the rankings.

Teenager upsets his compatriots

Teenager Juan Manuel Cerundolo, who had not played a tour-level match prior to this week, has now reached the quarterfinals of the Cordoba Open in his native Argentina.

Montpelier seeds stumble

The quarter-final line up for the Open Sud de France in Montpelier features only four of the original seeds and that will be halved for the semis as they all face each other.

By Royal decree!

Starting a tennis movement from scratch is a formidable undertaking. But as the game grows globally, so previously disinterested (for either cultural or intentional reasons) nations are turning to the beautiful game as one of their sporting options. Jordan is one of...
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The controversial battle for No 1

Criticism is being directed at the WTA for its interim changes to the rankings system, arising because of the 2020 WTA Tour being derailed by COVID-19, which is said to be artificially keeping Ash Barty as World No 1 when Naomi Osaka has won the last 2 Grand Slam titles.

I can’t control what anyone else does. For the tournaments or with the rankings, that’s out of my control. As for defending points, I think that’s a very negative way to look at it. Ash Barty

The WTA announced the changes to the system to prevent coronavirus unfairly affecting a player’s standing, and adopted a ‘frozen rankings’ system instead of the usual rolling 52 week calculator, which enabled a player’s best 16 results in tournaments since March 2019 to determine where they sit on the list.

The debate, no doubt, will rumble on, but in essence, Barty’s claim to the top spot comes as a result of her red-hot second half of the 2019 season, which has remained protected.

The 24-year-old chose not to travel outside of Australia in the middle of the global pandemic and only returned to the court during the lead-up events to this year’s Australian Open after an absence of 11 months.

The rankings are now being labelled ‘deeply out of sync’ with the reality that Barty’s position does not reflect her true place in the pecking order.

Since the 2018 US Open final, Osaka has won 4 of the 9 Grand Slams held, and although Barty won the French Open in 2019, she has only reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam twice in her career.

While Barty chose not to defend her title in Paris, her ranking remained protected, but a disappointing quarter-final loss to Karolina Muchova in Melbourne has underlined the frailties of the temporary system.

Despite Muchova being criticised for appearing to take a questionable medical time out before the match was flipped on its head, the fact is that Barty missed a golden opportunity to win her home Grand Slam, and now faces an uphill battle to retain her ranking by the time Wimbledon rolls around.

Naomi Osaka has won 2 Grand Slams in a row for the second time in her career and many believe she is the rightful World No 1

© William West/AFP via Getty Images

Barty shrugs off both disappointment and expectations, continuing ‘to go about her business’ as best as she can.

With Osaka now the newly crowned AO champion, many see the Japanese as the best player on the Tour at the moment.

Osaka also won the US Open in September 2020 and her Melbourne Park success saw her move up to No 2 this week, with Barty staying top largely thanks to the two-year rankings system adopted to counter last year’s enforced coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

“There’s no extra pressure,” Barty has said. “The extra pressure is non-existent for me.

“It’s just trying to go about my business and my training, my processes the right way for what works for me and my team.

“And that’s all that matters to us, really, is that we go about it the right way and make the right decisions for the right reasons and then we sleep well at night, regardless of what happens next to our name.

“I can’t control what anyone else does. For the tournaments or with the rankings, that’s out of my control.

“As for defending points, I think that’s a very negative way to look at it.

“Obviously I go back to tournaments knowing that I’ve had successes there. I’ve had good memories.”

Barty said last week that she will travel outside Australia this year, and her confidence has not been dented by her quarter-final defeat.

“We’ve planned and we’ve entered to play a few of the tour events coming up in the Middle East,” she said of her plan now.

“Right from the get-go, obviously it’s the first time we’ve looked to travel for quite some time now.

“We’ll sit back and kind of go through all of the health risks that are at this stage and to where we’re going, then we just work from there.”

Yet defending points is what makes the tour tick, and Barty has several key events over the next 5 months where she now has to defend significant rankings points, while Osaka has much greater scope to pick up points in the same time period.

Barty’s lead at the top with 9,186 points appears certain to come under siege from Osaka, who has 7,835 points, while Simona Halep is also in the race with 7,255 points.

Many believe Barty and Osaka will form a great on-court rivalry on the WTA Tour over the coming few years.

“I’ve only played her a couple times,” Barty said. “We haven’t played a lot.

“Obviously it’s depending on how the draw falls in a lot of tournaments. So hopefully it’s an opportunity for me to play against her in some big moments in big tournaments.

“That’s what we dream of is trying to put yourself in a position to win big titles. So maybe it will happen one day but for the time being that’s not what I’m stressed about.”

For now, Barty focuses on the defence of her title at the Adelaide International, taking it just one step at a time.

“We plan as best as we can,” the 24-year-old told reporters in Adelaide on Monday.

“Obviously in the current situation nothing’s certain. It’s difficult to plan, without a doubt, but we just go with the advice that we have been given.

“Of course I would love to be back on tour full-time, and all those decisions will come as close as we can to the events, but also as far out to try and plan a schedule and plan a tour.”



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