Johanna Konta out of Wimbledon because of COVID-19 contact

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WIMBLEDON, England — Three-time Grand Slam semifinalist Johanna Konta, the only British woman seeded in singles at Wimbledon, was dropped from the tournament Sunday because a member of her team tested positive for COVID-19.

The All England Club said the 27th-seeded Konta was determined to have been in close contact with the team member and so is required to self-isolate for 10 days.

The Grand Slam tournament begins Monday. It was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic, the first time since 1945 that Wimbledon wasn’t contested.

Konta, a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2017, is the first singles player in either the women’s or men’s bracket to be withdrawn from the field because of coronavirus protocols.

The 30-year-old Konta also was a semifinalist at the Australian Open in 2016 and the French Open in 2019.

She spoke to reporters Saturday during a pre-tournament video conference about how unusual it is that she – and her team members – must stay at a hotel during the fortnight instead of her area home because of the All England Club’s attempt to create what it is calling a “minimized risk environment,” with COVID-19 testing and a “track-and-trace program.”

“In terms of the `bubble life,’ it is very odd. It’s odd to drive past, kind of, my home every day on the way to Wimbledon. Kind of half an hour into the journey, I’m like, `Oh, OK. That is odd,”‘ Konta said. “It’s a small price to pay to be able to be back and playing again here at Wimbledon.”

She continued, saying: “It’s kind of like an all-inclusive cruise, that’s what it feels like. I’ve never been on a cruise, but that’s how I imagine an all-inclusive cruise to be.”

The All England Club said the team member showed COVID-19 symptoms Friday morning and took a COVID test, which came back positive for the illness.

Konta was supposed to play Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Rebublic in the first round at Wimbledon on Tuesday. Konta’s spot in the draw will be taken by China’s Wang Yafan, who lost in qualifying.

On Saturday, Konta was asked to explain what Britain has gone through during the pandemic.

“Everywhere I’ve gone, everyone everywhere has been affected by this. There’s not maybe one place on earth – maybe Antarctica; I don’t know – that hasn’t been affected by what’s happened in the world. And that’s just the same here at home,” she said. “A lot of people have lost their lives, a lot of people have lost their jobs, a lot of people have seen very, very difficult times. I think everyone is just trying to do their best to pull through and to start rebuilding their lives, start continuing on their lives.”

Mayar Sherif becomes first Egyptian to win WTA Tour event

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PARMA, Italy — Mayar Sherif became the first Egyptian to win a WTA Tour event by beating top-seeded Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3 at the Parma Ladies Open.

Besides earning her first career title, Sherif also notched her first win over a top-10 opponent.

Along with Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, who reached the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals this year, Sherif is raising the profile of tennis in North Africa.

The 74th-ranked Sherif actually had to win two matches on Saturday, first overcoming sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals, which were postponed a day due to rain.

The seventh-ranked Sakkari beat Danka Kovinic 7-5, 6-2 in her semifinal earlier Saturday.

Parma Ladies Open semifinals postponed to same day as final

parma ladies open
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PARMA, Italy — The semifinals of the Parma Ladies Open have been postponed by a day and will be played shortly before the final.

The decision was made because of persistent rain at the clay-court tournament.

Top-seeded Maria Sakkari will start on center court against Danka Kovinic at 10:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT) before sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan’s match against Mayar Sherif.

The final will be after 6 p.m. local time, shortly after the doubles final – with the doubles semifinals also being played earlier in the day on a different court.