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Naomi Osaka says she was unwilling to sacrifice her happiness after split from coach

  • Posted: Feb 17, 2019

World number one Naomi Osaka says she was not willing to “sacrifice” her happiness following her surprise split from coach Sascha Bajin last week.

Osaka split with Bajin 16 days after winning the Australian Open, which sealed back-to-back major titles after she won her first at the 2018 US Open.

“If I’m not waking up happy to practise and happy to be around the people I’m around, this is my life,” Osaka said.

“I’m not going to sacrifice that just to keep a person around.”

Japan’s Osaka, 21, had worked with Bajin for just over a year when she announced the split on Twitter.

Bajin, the 2018 WTA coach of the year, is a former hitting partner of Grand Slam champions Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

Under him, Osaka rose from world number 72 at the start of 2018 to the summit of the rankings little over a year later.

No reason was given for the split at the time, but Osaka says issues with the German had been “brewing” at January’s Australian Open.

“I think some people could see that if they saw how we interacted,” she told reporters at the WTA event in Dubai.

“I’m not going to say anything bad about him because, of course, I’m really grateful for all the things he’s done.

“During the Australian Open, I was just trying to tell myself to get through it. I’m not sure, but I think you guys noticed.”

Osaka said she hopes to have a new coach in place by the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, which starts on 4 March.

“[The most important thing for me is] just to have a positive mindset,” Osaka said. “I don’t want someone that’s in the box saying negative stuff. That would be the worst.

“Yeah, someone that’s kind of direct, not afraid to say things to my face. I’d rather someone say it directly to me than go around my back. That’s one of the biggest things.”

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Chardy/Kontinen Capture Maiden Team Title In Rotterdam

  • Posted: Feb 17, 2019

Chardy/Kontinen Capture Maiden Team Title In Rotterdam

French-Finnish duo lifts first ATP 500 trophy of the season

Jeremy Chardy and Henri Kontinen completed a dream debut week on Sunday, beating Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 7-6(5), 7-6(4) to lift their first team title at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.

“[Partnering with Jeremy] was pretty last minute,” said Kontinen. “A few days before [the tournament], I was just glad he said yes to my text message and here we are.”

Chardy and Kontinen won 83 per cent of first-serve points (38/46) and saved five of six break points to triumph after one hour and 40 minutes. The French-Finnish partnership served for the first set at 5-3 and failed to convert a set point at 5-4, but eventually took a one-set lead in the tie-break. After saving two break points at 3-4 (30/40) in the second set, Chardy and Kontinen claimed five straight points from 2/4 down in the second-set tie-break to clinch the title.

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More than two years after claiming his fourth tour-level doubles title at the 2017 Qatar ExxonMobil Open (w/F. Martin), Chardy adds a fifth title to his collection. Kontinen, who reached his second Australian Open final (w/Peers) last month, improves to 22-5 in tour-level championship matches.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Chardy. “[Henri] is my friend. To win with him means a lot to me. We played really good and he taught me a lot during the week, so it was really good to play with him.”

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Rojer and Tecau were aiming to capture their 19th crown in their 24th tour-level final as a team (18-6). The Dutch-Romanian tandem drops to 1-2 in Rotterdam finals, having also finished as runner-up in 2014 (l. to Llodra/Mahut) before lifting the trophy in 2015 (d. Murray/Peers).

Chardy and Kontinen earn 500 ATP Doubles Ranking points and share €127,270 in prize money. Rojer and Tecau gain 300 points and split €62,300.

Did You Know?
Chardy and Kontinen required Match Tie-breaks in each of their three contests en route to the final.

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American Nelly Korda wins Women's Australian Open in Adelaide

  • Posted: Feb 17, 2019
ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open final leaderboard
-17 N Korda; (US); -15 J Ko-young (Kor); -12 H Wei-ling (Tpe); -11 H Nomura (Jap), A Yin (US); -10 A Munoz (Spa), A Sharp (Can); -9 J Ewart Shadoff (Eng), M Steen (US)
Selected others:-7 B Law (Eng); -6 M MacLaren (Eng); -5 Y Liu (Chi); -1 C Hull (Eng)

American Nelly Korda continued her family’s remarkable success in Australia by winning the Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide.

Korda finished on 17 under par, two clear of South Korea’s Ko Jin-young.

Korda is the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda who won the 1998 Australian Open men’s singles title.

Her sister Jessica also won the golf Australian Open in 2012 while her brother Sebastian won the tennis junior singles title last year.

The 20-year-old took a three-shot lead into the final round at The Grange and shot a five-under-par 67 to win.

England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff finished in a tie for eighth on nine under.

‘Dad called to say you’re part of the Korda Slam now’

Korda was born six months after her father won the Australian Open in Melbourne, the Czech’s only Grand Slam title.

At the start of the week she said she felt “so left out” when her family discussed their Australian titles and when she completed her own victory she celebrated with her father’s trademark scissor kick.

“I’m finally a part of the club,” Korda said.

“I mean this win was really special for my family.

“I think there’s something in the air here, we love coming down under.

“I just got off the phone with my dad and he said, ‘Well, congratulations, you’re part of the Korda Slam now’.”

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Opelka Edges Isner In Record-Breaking New York SF

  • Posted: Feb 17, 2019

Opelka Edges Isner In Record-Breaking New York SF

American reaches first ATP Tour final, faces Schnur for title

Reilly Opelka displayed unwavering mental toughness and big hitting under pressure on Saturday at the New York Open. The 21-year-old American saved six match points in the second-set tie-break to edge top seed John Isner 6-7(10), 7-6(14), 7-6(4) and reach his first ATP Tour final.

Isner and Opelka broke the ATP Tour record for combined aces in a three-set match (81), with 43 aces for Opelka and 38 for Isner. They shattered the previous record set by Nick Kyrgios and Ryan Harrison (71) this past month in Brisbane, with 44 aces for Kyrgios and 27 for Harrison.

Opelka improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Isner to 2-1 and has won their past two matches, including a first-round victory at this year’s Australian Open for his first Grand Slam main draw win. The pair hit a combined 87 aces in their Melbourne clash (47 for Isner, 40 for Opelka), which saw Opelka win in four tie-breaks. They have now played seven straight tie-breaks, with each man earning one service break each in those seven sets.

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“Both of us were serving ridiculously well, so it was always going to come down to that,” said Isner. “Essentially, heads I win, tails I lose, and it landed on tails.”

World No. 89 Opelka will face qualifier Brayden Schnur for the title after the Canadian fought off five set points in the opening set to defeat sixth seed Sam Querrey 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-3. Schnur also saved match points this week, erasing two in his second-round victory over third seed Steve Johnson.

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Neither Isner nor Opelka faced a break point in the opening set. In the tie-break, Isner made eight of nine first-serves and saved set points down 5/6 and 7/8. With Opelka serving at 8/9, Isner claimed the only mini-break of the tie-break with a strong approach to Opelka’s backhand and a solid smash to wrap up the set.

The second set also progressed to a tie-break without any break points. Opelka trailed 4/6, staving off his first match point on Isner’s serve with a cracking down-the-line backhand. The 21-year-old erased more match points with clutch hitting at 7/8, 9/10, 11/12 and 13/14. Isner saved the first four set points against him with aces, but serving at 14/15, Opelka rifled a forehand passing shot winner on the run to level the match.

Isner and Opelka earned their first break points of the match in the second and third games of the deciding set, but moved into a final-set tie-break without any breaks of serve. Isner pushed a forehand passing shot just wide at 3/4 and the slight opening was all Opelka needed. The 21-year-old closed out the contest on his first match point and pumped his fist in celebration.

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Rojer & Tecau Battle Into Rotterdam Final

  • Posted: Feb 17, 2019

Rojer & Tecau Battle Into Rotterdam Final

Thiem & Schwartzman reach Buenos Aires final

Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau are back to top form at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. After losing their first three matches of 2019, they reached the final in Rotterdam on Saturday by outlasting Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 3-6, 6-2, 10-7.

Awaiting them in the championship match are Jeremy Chardy and Henri Kontinen, who also rallied from a set down to defeat fourth seeds Marcel Granollers and Nikola Mektic 6-7(3), 6-4, 10-6.

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Shortly after completing their grueling singles semi-final at the Argentina Open, Diego Schwartzman and Dominic Thiem returned to Court Guillermo Vilas and recorded a 6-4, 3-6, 10-6 semi-final win over Spaniards Jaume Munar and Albert Ramos-Vinolas. They’ll play top seeds Maximo Gonzalez and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina for the title. Thiem and Schwartzman are both looking for their first ATP Tour doubles title.

At the New York Open, German pair Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies reached their first ATP Tour final by defeating fourth seeds Robert Lindstedt and Tim Puetz 6-2, 6-4. Next up for them is the winner of the other semi-final featuring French duo Adrian Mannarino and Hugo Nys against Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan.

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Brayden Schnur In A New York Minute

  • Posted: Feb 17, 2019

Brayden Schnur In A New York Minute

The Canadian qualifier is through to his first ATP Tour final

Get the details on the biggest week of Brayden Schnur’s career as the World No. 154 in the ATP Rankings goes from qualifying alternate to his first ATP Tour final at the New York Open.

You May Also Like: Schnur Continues Dream Week Into New York Open Final
  • On Sunday, Brayden Schnur defeated 17-year-old Long Island native Cannon Kingsley in the opening round of qualifying.
  • On Monday, he reached a career-high No. 154 in the ATP Rankings and beat Alexei Popyrin to qualify.
  • On Tuesday, he earned the first ATP Tour win of his career over countryman and Columbia University sophomore Jack Mingjie Lin.
  • On Wednesday, he rallied from 5-2 down in the third set and saved two match points to beat No. 3 seed Steve Johnson.
  • On Thursday, he went to sleep at 3:30 am after his win over Johnson finished Wednesday at 11:37 pm.
  • On Friday, he hit 24 aces and held in all 18 of his service games to defeat Paolo Lorenzi 6-7(7) 7-6(5) 7-5.
  • On Saturday, he saved five set points in the first set of 7-6(7) 4-6 6-3 victory over No. 6 seed Sam Querrey.
  • In Sunday’s final, he bids to become the second player in as many weeks to earn his first win and title at the same event (Juan Ignacio Londero at Cordoba).
  • In Monday’s ATP Rankings, he will break into the Top 100 if he wins the title.

– Research from Joshua Rey

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Schnur Continues Dream Week Into New York Open Final

  • Posted: Feb 17, 2019

Schnur Continues Dream Week Into New York Open Final

Canadian to play Isner or Opelka for title

Brayden Schnur’s best week ever got even better on Saturday at the New York Open. Having never won an ATP Tour main draw match before this week, the Canadian qualifier saved five set points in the opening set against sixth seed Sam Querrey and reached the final with a 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-3 victory over the American.

Schnur, the final alternate into the qualifying draw, saved two match points in his second-round win over third seed Steve Johnson and won the longest match of the tournament in his quarter-final against Paolo Lorenzi (2 hr, 39 min). Currently at a career-high No. 154 in the ATP Rankings, he’ll crack the Top 100 on Monday if he takes the title.

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The Canadian erased four set points on his serve at 4-5 in the first set and another at 5-6. Schnur couldn’t convert on set point opportunities in the tie-break at 6/5 and 7/6, but a pair of forehand errors from Querrey at 7/7 gave him the early advantage.

The qualifier had a break point opportunity to lead 4-0 in the second set, but the occasion appeared to overwhelm him and his shots began landing shorter. Querrey took advantage to level the match, but Schnur regrouped with an early break to lead 2-0 in the deciding set. The slight advantage was all he needed. Schnur converted on his first match point with a strong serve and closed the contest after one hour and 54 minutes.

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Schnur will take on the winner of the all-American clash between top seed John Isner and Reilly Opelka. He has not faced either player before.

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