WTA

Kerber bundled out by Badosa in Indian Wells QFs, history-making Jabeur awaits

By Sports Desk October 14, 2021

Angelique Kerber was knocked out in the Californian desert after a straight-sets quarter-final defeat to Paula Badosa at the WTA Indian Wells Open.

Badosa, who made this year's French Open quarter-finals, squandered two match points at 5-2 in the second set against three-time grand slam champion Kerber before steadying to secure her fifth final-four appearance of the season on Thursday.

In the semi-finals, Badosa will face Tunisian 12th seed Ons Jabeur, who got past Anna Kontaveit in straight sets, confirming her historic rise into the top 10 of the rankings, as the first-ever Arab player to achieve the singles feat on either the WTA or ATP Tour.

 

KERBER TOPPLED BY BADOSA

Former world number one and 10th seed Kerber bowed out at Indian Wells, with Badosa triumphing 6-4 7-5 in 86 minutes.

In her Indian Wells debut, 21st seed Badosa responded strongly after fluffing two match points to become the first Spanish woman to make the event's semi-finals in 18 years.

"It sounds amazing," Badosa said during her on-court interview. "The second set was very mental. I wanted this match so badly. I got super nervous.

"For one second I thought who was on the other side of the net and I got more nervous against a three-time grand slam champion. It means a lot to me. It's amazing."

In the first set, Badosa broke Kerber at 4-4 before serving out the opening set where she was excellent on her first serve, staving off the German's only two break points.

The Spaniard raced to a 5-2 lead in the second set and had two match points on Kerber's serve. The experienced Kerber responded by holding serve and then breaking back, before levelling at 5-5.

But Badosa showed her mettle by winning the final two games, breaking Kerber for victory as she upped her level.

 

JABEUR SEALS TOP-10 BERTH WITH TRIUMPH

Jabeur defeated Estonian 18th seed Kontaveit 7-5 6-3 to move into the top 10 for the first time in her career.

The Tunisian will become the first Arab player to make the top 10 when the updated WTA rankings are made official on Monday, but she also qualified for the biggest semi-final of her career to date.

"It feels amazing," Jabeur said. "We've been working hard since years. When I spoke at the end of last season, I said I wanted to be in the top 10. People doubted us as a team, we proved them wrong.

"Being a top 10 means a lot but we're not going to stop here. We're going to go further hopefully."

Jabeur, who made this year's Wimbledon quarter-finals, triumphed in 86 minutes, although she did not have it all her way, in a match full of momentum swings.

The 27-year-old Jabeur had been a double break up at 4-1 in the first set before Kontaveit hit back to level at 5-5, only for her to break back immediately and serve out the set.

Jabeur broke Kontaveit to love at 3-3, rattling off the final three games, including two breaks, to secure victory and keep alive her hopes of making the WTA Finals.

Related items

  • WTA suspends tournaments in China amid concerns over Peng Shuai WTA suspends tournaments in China amid concerns over Peng Shuai

    The WTA has suspended its upcoming tournaments in China amid concern over the safety of Peng Shuai after she made allegations of sexual assault against a top Chinese government official.

    Peng was not seen in public for several weeks after leveling the accusations against Zhang Gaoli, the ex-vice premier and member of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee.

    She posted the allegations on social media site Weibo in early November, though her post has since been removed and her whereabouts have been unclear.

    In mid-November, an email allegedly sent by Peng was received by WTA chairman Steve Simon, who expressed his confusion and disbelief at the message, which claimed the sexual assault allegations were false and that the tennis star was safely at home.

    The WTA also welcomed pictures of Peng on a video call with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, but a spokesperson for the women's tennis organisation insisted that did not alleviate the concern.

    Simon called for a full investigation into the incident as he said the prior email only heightened his worries over Peng's safety, also threatening to suspend WTA tournament action in China until the matter was resolved.

    He has since confirmed the suspension will be imposed on tournaments in China in a statement released on Wednesday.

    "When on November 2, 2021, Peng Shuai posted an allegation of sexual assault against a top Chinese government official, the Women's Tennis Association recognised that Peng Shuai's message had to be listened to and taken seriously," Simon's statement read. 

    "The players of the WTA, not to mention women around the world, deserve nothing less.

    "From that moment forward, Peng Shuai demonstrated the importance of speaking out, particularly when it comes to sexual assault, and especially when powerful people are involved.

    "As Peng said in her post, 'Even if it is like an egg hitting a rock, or if I am like a moth drawn to the flame, inviting self-destruction, I will tell the truth about you.' She knew the dangers she would face, yet she went public anyway. I admire her strength and courage."

    The statement outlined a number of grievances with the way the Chinese state has handled the matter, before adding: "As a result, and with the full support of the WTA Board of Directors, I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong.

    "In good conscience, I don't see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault."

  • Former British number one Konta retires from tennis aged 30 Former British number one Konta retires from tennis aged 30

    Former British number one Johanna Konta has announced her retirement from tennis after a continuous battle with a knee injury.

    Konta, who is a three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, has not featured on the WTA Tour since August and decided to step away aged 30.

    She became the first British woman in 39 years to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2017, while also making the last four at the Australia Open a year earlier and at the French Open in 2019.

    Australia-born Konta, a former world number four, collected four titles on the WTA Tour and represented Great Britain in the Fed Cup.

    In a statement posted on social media on Wednesday, Konta said: "Grateful. This is the word that I've probably been used to the most during my career, and is the word that I feel explains it best at the end.

    "My playing career has come to an end, and I am so incredibly grateful for the career that it turned out to be.

    "All the evidence pointed towards me not 'making' it in this profession. However, my luck materialised in the people that came into my life and impacted my existence in ways that transcended tennis.

    "I am so incredibly grateful for these people. You know who you are."

    Konta made her last tour-level appearance at the Cincinnati Open on August 18 when she lost in the first round to Karolina Muchova.

    The Briton had only one win in her last five majors since reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in 2019 and dropped to 113th in the rankings but remains thankful for the opportunities she has been granted.

    "Through my own resilience and through the guidance of others, I got to live my dreams," she added. "I got to become what I wanted and said as a child.

    "How incredibly fortunate I count myself to be. How grateful I am."

  • Novak Djokovic likely to skip Australian Open, claims world number one's father Novak Djokovic likely to skip Australian Open, claims world number one's father

    Novak Djokovic is unlikely to play at the Australian Open in January unless COVID-19 vaccination rules are relaxed, according to the player's father.

    Organisers recently confirmed that players must be vaccinated against coronavirus to compete in the tournament, which begins on January 17.

    World number one Djokovic, who won a record ninth title in Melbourne last year, has not publicly stated whether he has had the jab.

    Srdjan Djokovic told Serbia's TV Prva that being vaccinated is a personal choice, and that Tennis Australia's rules are essentially "blackmail".

    "As far as vaccines and non-vaccines are concerned, it is the personal right of each of us whether we will be vaccinated or not," he was quoted as saying by news website B92.

    "No one has the right to enter into our intimacy, it is guaranteed by the constitution. Everyone has the right to decide on their health.

    "Whether [Novak] is vaccinated or not, that is his exclusive right. Will he publish it, I don't think so. I don't know that decision either, and if I did, I wouldn't share it with you. He has the right to decide as he wants."

    When asked about Djokovic's decision to play in Australia, his father added: "Whether he will appear there depends on how [the organisers] position themselves. He would want it with all his heart because he's an athlete, and we would love that too.

    "Under these blackmails and conditions, he probably won't. I wouldn't do that. And he's my son, so you decide for yourself."

    Djokovic, who is tied on 20 major singles titles with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, recently said he was unsure of his participation following his appearance at the ATP Finals in Turin.

    "I was just waiting to hear what the news is going to be and now that I know we'll just have to wait and see," he said.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.