LTA Chief warns of community indoor tennis centres closures

The LTA has warned that at least a third of Community Indoor Tennis Centres (CITCs) could still face closure, despite the recent Government announcement of a £100m investment in public leisure facilities.

Bertens undergoes Achilles tendon surgery

World No 9 Kiki Bertens announced last week that she will miss the start of the 2021 season, including the Australian Open, and has undergone surgery on her troublesome Achilles.

Another Mom to be

Former World No 12 Yanina Wickmayer took to social media this week to announce that she and her husband, Jérôme Vanderzijl, are expecting their first child, soon to be joining the growing group of mothers on tour.

Pospisil takes out compatriot in Vienna

Four matches Wednesday completed the first round of the Erste Bank Open, an ATP 500 tier event being contested in Vienna prior to the Paris Masters 1000 next week, which, in view of the latest restrictions imposed in France, could well be cancelled.

Coco climbs the rankings

Following the WTA’s last Premier event of the year in Ostrava, Coco Gauff is rewarded for battling through qualifying with an 8-place jump in the Rankings published tis week, while champion Aryna Sabalenka and finalist Victoria Azaranka are among the other risers.

In Vienna Thiem and Djokovic struggle and Evans progresses.

Defending champion Dominic Thiem seeded two at the Erste Bank Open, an ATP Tier 500 event, found himself struggling at first when he faced Vitaly Sachko of the Ukraine in his opening round in Vienna.

Ricci Bitti takes on 3rd ASOIF term as President

Former ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti is set to be re-elected for a third and final term as President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) after being confirmed as unopposed for the role.

Melbourne lockdown easing

The good news is that after 3 months of strict lockdown due to a surge in coronavirus, Melbourne is reopening on Wednesday, paving the way for the easing of restrictions and, hopefully, the return of spectators to sport.

Mixed fortunes on opening day in Vienna, Shapovalov beaten by wildcard

In what is being described as the strongest field ever to be gathered for an ATP 500 event, Denis Shapovalov, the eighth seed from Canada, crashed out of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, to the Austrian wildcard Jurij Rodionov in straight sets for the biggest win of his...

Sabalenka ousts Azarenka and wins Ostrava double

Aryna Sabalenka completed a remarkable transformation at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open on Sunday when she won both the singles and doubles titles, comprehensively out-striking compatriot Victoria Azarenka in the first all-Belarusian WTA Tour final in history.
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Women’s qualifying begins in Paris

Qualifying for the French Open gets under way this week, with the draws made on Monday, and there are some fine players fighting it out on the courts of Roland Garros hoping to gain entry into the main draw, among them two Brits, Harriet Dart and Samantha Murray Sharan.

Viewers in the UK can watch the live action on Eurosport and ITV as a great mix of talented teens and seasoned veterans battle it out on the clay courts in Paris.

Dart opens her campaign against the No 5 seed, Mihaela Buzarnescu from Romania, while Murray takes on Australia’s Arina Rodionova.

Qualifying top seed, Ann Li, of the United States, is trying to reach her 3rd Grand Slam main draw of the year and made a strong impression at the US Open earlier this month, where she upset Arantxa Rus and Alison Riske before falling to Angelique Kerber in the third round.

The 20-year-old faces Dutchwoman Indy de Vroome in the first round.

The 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk from Ukraine is coming off of an impressive third-round showing at the US Open earlier this month and is just 3 spots off her career-high ranking of No 116, which she first achieved in January last year.

A former Australian Open junior champion, Kostyuk exploded onto the scene when she reached the 3rd round of the women’s event in Melbourne as a 15-year-old qualifier on her Grand Slam debut in 2018.

At the US Open two weeks ago, she took out former top-10 player Daria Kasatkina, and two-time semi-finalist Anastasija Sevastova before falling to eventual champion Naomi Osaka in three tight sets.

Last month, she won 3 rounds of qualifying on the clay courts of the WTA tournament in Prague, but was edged in her main draw opener by Camila Giorgi in a third-set tiebreak.

Kostyuk opens her qualifying campaign against Isabella Shinikova of Bulgaria.

Russia’s Vera Zvonareva is a former World No 2 and has had a strong few weeks since the tour resumed last month.

The 36-year old lifted the US Open doubles trophy with her partner Laura Siegemund in New York two weeks ago, and earlier made the last-16 stage at the Western & Southern Open in singles as a qualifier.

The former Wimbledon finalist will be making just her second appearance at Roland-Garros since 2011.

Her best result at the Parisian Grand Slam came back in 2003, when she reached the quarter-finals.

Zvonareva begins her quest for a main draw berth against fellow Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

Nadia Podoroska is a 23-year-old from Argentina, who has won 14 of her 17 matches played on clay since the tennis tour restarted last month.

Ranked a career-high No 130 in the world this week, Podoroska won the ITF $60k tournament in Saint-Malo, France earlier this month and made the semi-finals at the WTA $125k event in Prague as well as qualifying  for the WTA showpiece in Palermo.

Podoroska, who is bidding for a first Roland-Garros main draw appearance, and just her second at a Grand Slam, starts her qualifying journey against Poland’s Magdalena Frech.

Italy’s Sara Errani was runner-up to Maria Sharapova at Roland-Garros in 2012 and owns a 21-11 record on Parisian clay.

A former world No.5, Errani, now aged 33, is down to No 149 in the rankings but had an encouraging restart to the season when she reached the quarter-finals of the WTA tournament in Palermo last month.

Errani, who opens against Georgia’s Ekaterine Gorgodze, is looking to make her first Grand Slam main draw appearance in two years.

Her last showing at a major was a first-round three-set defeat to Alizé Cornet at Roland-Garros in 2018.

Last year 17-year-old Clara Tauson became the first Danish girl to top the junior world rankings and is swiftly showing great promise on the women’s tour.

The 2019 Australian Open junior champion is 9-2 win-loss on the ITF circuit since the tour resumed last month, and comes to Roland-Garros at a career-high ranking of No 196.

Besides winning an ITF $15k title in Oeiras a month ago, Tauson marched to the 4th round at the WTA $125k tournament in Prague, upsetting Errani along the way.

First up for Tauson this week in qualifying is Romania’s Gabriela Talaba.

Others to keep an eye on include American teenagers Whitney Osuigwe, the 2017 Roland-Garros junior champion, and Caty McNally, the girls’ doubles champion and girls’ singles runner-up in 2018, who are bidding to make their respective main draw debuts in the French capital.

McNally reached the US Open 3rd round earlier this month.

Serbia’s Ivana Jorovic, a 2014 Roland-Garros junior finalist, has had a solid build-up to the action in Paris, making the semi-finals at the WTA $125k in Prague, while Kristina Kucova clinched that title in the Czech capital by dropping just 1 set in 7 matches.



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