Venus Williams crashes out of Wuhan Open

Former top tennis player Venus Williams was a 2015 Wuhan champion and now 59th in the world rankings. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2019

Venus Williams crashes out of Wuhan Open

  • Former top tennis player Venus Williams is a 2015 Wuhan champion and now 59th in the world rankings

WUHAN, China: Venus Williams’ first visit to Asia since 2017 was cut short as she crashed out of the Wuhan Open first round on Sunday 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) to fellow American Danielle Collins.
The 39-year-old Williams, a 2015 Wuhan champion now 59th in the world rankings, squandered a lead in the first set before eventually losing to Collins, who recorded just the second match win of her career on Chinese soil.
The 35th-ranked Collins rallied back from 3-5 down in the opening set, winning a whopping nine games in a row to go up 7-5, 5-0.
Williams, a wildcard at Wuhan this year, finally stopped the bleeding, holding the serve to interrupt her opponent’s momentum.
It was the start of a surprising five-game run from Williams, who saved two match points along the way as she drew level at 5-5.
In the decider, Williams got the first mini-break but it was Collins who eventually created a 6-4 gap, converting with an ace on her fourth match point to move into the second round.
It was Collins’ second triumph over Williams, who had also stumbled against the 25-year-old during the Miami Open last year.
“This is my first tournament here in Asia, I was just happy to come out with a win, said Collins, who next takes on defending champion and ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka, a 6-1, 6-2 winner over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Meanwhile, 2017 Wuhan runner-up Ashleigh Barty is making sure she has enough left in the tank for a busy closing stretch of the season, including her singles debut at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen and a highly-anticipated Fed Cup final between Australia and France in Perth.
Barty is top seed at Wuhan and faces a stiff challenge in the fight for the year-end number one ranking from the likes of Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep, Bianca Andreescu and Naomi Osaka.
The 23-year-old Australian is first-ranked this week and would like to finish the year on top, but admitted that she has other priorities.
“I think it’s a target without being a target,” Barty told reporters.
“We’ve put ourselves in a position where it’s a possibility. I plan my schedule, the last six months of this year, well in advance. I think I’m not going to change it to try and chase it,” she added.
“If it happens, it happens.”
Barty will open her Wuhan campaign against either Russian Daria Kasatkina or Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia.


Daniil Medvedev wins inaugural Diriyah Tennis Cup final in Saudi Arabia

Updated 15 December 2019

Daniil Medvedev wins inaugural Diriyah Tennis Cup final in Saudi Arabia

  • The Saudi event makes history as the first to use Hawk-Eye Live technology

RIYADH: Daniil Medvedev has won the inaugural $1 million Diriyah Tennis Cup in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Medvedev beat Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2 in Saturday’s final.

Earlier in the tournament he beat Jan-Lennard Struff and Belgium’s David Goffin — also in straight sets.

The Diriyah Tennis Cup, sponsored by Saudi Aramco, will certainly go down in history as eight of the world’s best tennis stars met in the Diriyah Arena for the first international tournament played in the Kingdom.

The event also made tennis history as not only the first in Saudi Arabia, but also one of the first to use Hawk-Eye Live technology.

Replacing the need for line judges and providing more accuracy, Hawk-Eye Live sends visual and audio cues to the chair umpire and off-court monitors within a tenth of a second of a ball bouncing, to show faults and out-of-bounds shots without relying on the naked eye.

In the first of the two semifinals, Fognini overcame the spirited efforts of the ever-entertaining Frenchman Gael Monfils.

In the second semifinal, Medvedev — a standout performer on the ATP Tour in 2019 — maintained his remarkable form to outgun David Goffin, 6-3, 6-3 to ease his way into Saturday’s historic final.

BACKGROUND

The Diriyah Tennis Cup, sponsored by Saudi Aramco, will go down in history as eight of the world’s best tennis stars met in the Diriyah Arena for the first international tournament played in the Kingdom.

The Russian has won four titles in 2019 in Sofia, in Cincinnati, in St. Petersburg and in Shanghai. 

He was the finalist in Brisbane, Barcelona, Washington, Montreal and at the US Open.

Ranked No.5, Medvedev played his last match on Nov. 15 when he was defeated by Alexander Zverev in London.

The first day as part of a three-day tournament saw all eight players in action.

First up on court was Italian Fabio Fognini taking on American John Isner, ranked no. 19 and the holder of the third fastest serve of all time in men’s tennis.