Radwanska advances to semifinals at WTA Finals

AP
0 Comments

SINGAPORE — Defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska took the final spot in the semifinals of the WTA Finals, beating Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-3 on Friday.

Radwanska, who finished 2-1 in the round robin, will play top-seeded Angelique Kerber in Saturday’s semifinals. Kerber won the Australian Open and the U.S. Open this season, and reached the Wimbledon final.

“I think I really have nothing to lose at the moment, especially (since) I’m going to play the best player of the season,” Radwanska said of the top-ranked German. “She’s played incredible tennis this year.”

Earlier, Svetlana Kuznetsova earned first place in the White Group despite losing to Garbine Muguruza 3-6, 6-0, 6-1.

Kuznetsova will next play Dominika Cibulkova, who reached the semifinals despite finishing 1-2.

Pliskova offered Radwanska too many free points, making 29 unforced errors to only eight for the Pole.

Radwanska initially trailed 4-2 in the first set, but she soon recovered to 4-4.

In the second set, Radwanska scored the final service break in the eighth game when Pliskova netted two consecutive overheads.

Kuznetsova managed to win the first set against Muguruza, but looked fatigued after that.

“Definitely, you don’t want to lose the match,” said Kuznetsova, the last player to qualify for the season-ending tournament. “You try to fight. Sometimes the lack of energy just won’t let you do that.”

Novak Djokovic to start 2023 in Adelaide ahead of Australian Open

Getty Images
1 Comment

MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open crown a year after having his visa revoked on the eve of his title defense.

The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and has been listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Jan. 1.

Serbia isn’t contesting the inaugural United Cup team competition, leaving Djokovic free to play regular warmup tournaments head of the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

He’ll be joined in the men’s draw at Adelaide by Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Andy Murray.

Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka will headline the women’s draw.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last month confirmed Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in Australia in January. The 35-year-old Serbian had been facing a possible three-year ban after being deported last January over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he played. Rafael Nadal won this year’s title in Djokovic’s absence.

Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2022 tournament, but Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.

Karolina Pliskova reuniting with Sascha Bajin

Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

Two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova is reuniting with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the 2023 season.

Pliskova posted on her website and her Twitter account about the move, which comes about six months after she and Bajin stopped working together. The pair originally teamed up in November 2020.

While Bajin was her coach, Pliskova reached the final at Wimbledon in 2021 before losing to champion Ash Barty. Pliskova also was the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals before being beat by Angelique Kerber for the trophy.

After splitting from Bajin in July, Pliskova was coached by Leos Friedl. Their results together included a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.

Bajin has worked as a coach or hitting partner with several top tennis players, including Grand Slam title winners Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

“Thank you for having me back,” Bajin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go get it.”

Pliskova is a 30-year-old from the Czech Republic who reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017 and finished this season at No. 31 after going 21-21 with no titles.

Her team also includes fitness specialist Jez Green and physiotherapist Martin Salvador.

Next year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, begins Jan. 16.