WTA

Raducanu denied Halep showdown after crushing defeat to Kostyuk at Transylvania Open

By Sports Desk October 29, 2021

Emma Raducanu's hopes of facing idol Simona Halep in the semi-finals of the Transylvania Open were brutally ended by a crushing defeat to Marta Kostyuk on Friday.

US Open champion Raducanu claimed her first ever regular WTA Tour win in Cluj earlier this week, with the 18-year-old keen to impress in the homeland of her father, but Kostyuk denied her the chance of a dream last-four clash with Halep.

The 19-year-old Ukrainian swept Raducanu aside in just 57 minutes, winning 6-2 6-1 as Kostyuk furthered her own burgeoning reputation in the game by reaching a third semi-final of the year.

Raducanu proved her own worst enemy, her 41 unforced errors more than double Kostyuk's 16, with the latter feeling confident as early as the first game when two double faults helped her break the Briton's serve.

"I don't know how I won the first game, I think that's where everything started," Kostyuk said. "I somehow won that game and I gained this confidence, like I'm not going to lose this match.

"After that, by the fifth game maybe, I figured out how to play her – today. Maybe next time I play it's going to be different tactics."

Top seed Halep enjoyed a similarly straightforward victory as she lost just two games en route to a 6-1 6-1 win over Romanian compatriot Jaqueline Cristian, a particularly impressive feat given she had been suffering with a back injury this week.

That success preserved Halep's 100 per cent record against fellow Romanians.

On the other side of the draw, second seed Anett Kontaveit was also an impressive winner as she disposed of Anhelina Kalinina 6-1 6-3 in just over an hour. Kontaveit has won 24 of her last 26 matches and will be the firm favourite against unseeded Rebecca Peterson, who beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 3-6 6-3.

At the Courmayeur Open in Italy, third seed Liudmila Samsonova cruised into the semis thanks to a swift 6-1 6-2 demolition of Anna Kalinskaya. She will meet Clara Tauson – seeded fifth – after the Dane came through a more gruelling 3-6 6-4 6-2 win over Ann Li.

The other semi will be contested by Donna Vekic and Jasmine Paolini, who were straight-sets winners over Wang Xinyu and Dayana Yastremska, respectively.

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    Novak Djokovic will be banned from Australia for three years after the world number one's visa cancellation was upheld, the federal government has confirmed.

    The 20-time Grand Slam winner failed in his bid to overturn a decision from the government to cancel his visa on public health grounds at the Federal Court in Melbourne on Sunday.

    Djokovic, who is unvaccinated against COVID-19, is therefore unable to participate in the Australian Open, where he was due to launch his quest for a record-extending 10th title against fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday.

    After departing Australia, he will now be unable to return for the next three years, as is standard for the deportation order under the Migration Act – although this is subject to application and he could be permitted to return before then.

    However, as it stands the 34-year-old would miss the next three editions of the slam. 

    Speaking on the Today Show, minister for home affairs Karen Andrews said: "The outcome of the process that went before the Federal Court and their determinations – the visa was cancelled by [immigration] minister Hawke.

    "That cancellation was upheld by the Federal Court, so as a result of that, he will be banned from entry for three years into the country.

    "Now there are some compelling reasons that may be looked at, but that's all hypothetical at this point. Any application will be reviewed on its merits."

    The long-running saga began after Djokovic was held at an airport in Melbourne when he arrived in the country on January 6.

    The world number one won an appeal to overturn the first bid to deport him from the country, but immigration minister Hawke used his powers to again cancel the visa on Friday and Djokovic left Australia late on Sunday.

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    Novak Djokovic's absence from the Australian Open "is a loss for the game", says men's tennis governing body the ATP.

    The world number one failed in his bid to overturn a decision from the government to cancel his visa on public health grounds at the Federal Court in Melbourne on Sunday.

    Djokovic, who is unvaccinated against COVID-19, will therefore be unable to participate in the Australian Open, where he was seeking a record-extending 10th title.

    As the 20-time grand slam winner prepared to fly out of Australia on Sunday, the ATP released a statement reflecting on a "deeply regrettable" saga that lasted 10 days.

    "Today's decision to uphold Novak Djokovic's Australian visa cancellation marks the end of a deeply regrettable series of events," the statement read. 

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    "Irrespective of how this point has been reached, Novak is one of our sport's greatest champions and his absence from the Australian Open is a loss for the game. 

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    Sunday's verdict brings an end to a long-running saga that began when Djokovic was held at an airport in Melbourne when he arrived in the country on January 6.

    The 34-year-old won an appeal to overturn the first bid to deport him from the country, but immigration minister Alex Hawke used his powers to again cancel the visa.

    That decision was taken amid much backlash in the country, which has strict coronavirus restrictions, and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison backed Sunday's verdict.

    "This cancellation decision was made on health, safety and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so," he said.

    "I welcome the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe.

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    "It's now time to get on with the Australian Open and get back to enjoying tennis over the summer."

    But the unanimous verdict did not go down well with everyone, with Serbian prime minister Aleksandar Vucic launching an attack on Australia for their handling of the matter.

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    "They think that they humiliated Djokovic, but they humiliated themselves, and he can return to his country and look everyone in the eye with his head held high."

    Speaking prior to Sunday's verdict, Rafael Nadal insisted the Australian Open will be a great tournament "with or without" Djokovic.

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    Djokovic had been due to face Miomir Kecmanovic in the opening round on Monday but will now be replaced by lucky loser Salvatore Caruso.

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    Novak Djokovic is "extremely disappointed" to have lost his fight to compete at the Australian Open but "respects" the decision and will not mount fresh legal action.

    The world number one learned on Sunday that his second appeal to reinstate his visa had been rejected unanimously by three judges at the Federal Court in Melbourne.

    Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, had been due to begin his latest title defence against Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday but will instead now be deported from the country.

    While disappointed at the decision, the 20-time grand slam winner will cooperate with the authorities in relation to his departure from the country.

    In a statement released shortly after the verdict, Djokovic said: "I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this.

    "I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister's decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open.

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    Sunday's verdict looks set to bring an end to a long-running saga that began when Djokovic was held at an airport in Melbourne when he arrived in the country on January 6.

    The 34-year-old won an appeal to overturn the first bid to deport him from the country, but immigration minister Alex Hawke used his powers to again cancel the visa on Friday.

    That decision was taken amid much backlash in Australia, which has strict coronavirus restrictions, while some leading players have lamented how the tournament has been overshadowed by the Djokovic drama.

    But after losing his latest appeal, the Serbian hopes that all focus can now be on the first grand slam of the year, which begins on Monday.

    "I am uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on me and I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love," he added in his statement. 

    "I would like to wish the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers and fans all the best for the tournament.

    "Finally, I would like to thank my family, friends, team, supporters, fans and my fellow Serbians for your continued support. You have all been a great source of strength to me."

    Full reasons for the court's ruling will be published "in the coming days".

    Djokovic could now be banned from the country for the next three years as that is the punishment that usually comes with a deportation order.

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