Halep Pulls Out Of Palermo; Organizers Not Too Happy

WASHINGTON, July 27, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

World No. 2 Simona Halep has withdrawn from the Palermo Ladies Open, scheduled to re-launch the WTA tour beginning August 3 in Palermo, Italy. She cited coronavirus concerns for her reason to not come play in the southern Italian tournament. The announcement was communicated on Sunday – and the tournament organizers were not too happy about Halep’s decision to skip the event on short notice.

“We found out Halep’s decision with great bitterness the decision of world number 2 to cancel her participation to the 31st Palermo Ladies Open,” said tournament director Oliviero Palma in a statement Sunday. “Yesterday we were optimistic, and we had informed Halep’s staff about the fact that professional players are not obliged to quarantine. Regional assessor of Health Ruggero Razza, who we thank for his promptness and clarity, had directly sent to Halep an official communication explaining how the Ordinance of the Ministry of Health was not to be applied to workers, therefore neither to professional tennis players. Nevertheless, Halep’s staff only communicated us the final decision, frustrating all our efforts. We are embittered and profoundly disappointed.”

On Sunday afternoon, Halep wrote on Twitter:

Halep has not played competitively since defeating Elena Rybakina in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final in early March in the Emirates. With Halep out, No. 14 Johanna Konta of Great Britain will move up to be the top seed in the 32-player draw tournament. Three other Top 20 players are entered: No. 15 Petra Marta, No. 18 Marketa Vondrousova and No. 20 Maria Sakkari.

UTS: On match point for the win! 

Arguably, the highlight of the second day of Ultimate Tennis Showdown 2 was an iconic shot by Dustin Brown of Germany, who goes by the Twitter moniker of @DreddyTennis. It came at the end of his group play match against Corentin Moutet of France during sudden death. You can decide whether you think it was planned or simply relying upon instinct.

Chicago, Philadelphia clinch WTT playoff berths

The Philadelphia Freedoms and Chicago Smash have clinched two of four World TeamTennis playoff berths. Both teams are tied for first place with 9-2 win-loss records. Chicago has come on strong by winning four consecutive matches. The Orlando Storm is in third place (7-4) and New York Empire is in fourth place (6-5) heading into the final week of regular-season play. The top four teams out of the nine teams in the WTT advance to Saturday’s league semifinals and the championship match is Sunday, August 2.

Konta teams up with Hogstedt

It’s been quite a while since Johanna Konta has competed in any kind of tennis competition. That will change when she participates in the second edition of the Battle of Brits beginning Monday in Roehampton, England. She will be part of the British Bulldogs competing against the Union Jacks in the mixed-team competition organized by Jamie Murray. Konta plays the first match on Centre Court Monday (Noon BST) against Jodie Burrage, who was a finalist in the recent Progress Tour Women’s Championship at Roehampton.

Konta revealed to The Daily Mail over the weekend that she’s split with her coach Dimitri Zavialoff from France, who helped guide her to the quarterfinals or better in three of four 2019 Grand Slams, due to his not being able to travel as much as needed. Konta’s new coach is a familiar name in coaching circles: Thomas Hogstedt, 56, of Sweden, who previously worked with Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki and Li Na.

What they’re tweeting

Stuart Fraser, tennis correspondent, The Times of London: “Andy Murray is planning to play in the US Open (if it goes ahead). Will travel to New York for the “Cincinnati” event a week before, potentially even playing in qualifying rather than taking a main draw wild card.”

What they’re sharing on social media

Battle of The Brits / Monday’s Order of Play

Karolina Pliskova / The Big Little Mermaid

Citi Open / While we wrap up a tough week …