WASHINGTON, August 16, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
In what seems to be a daily happening, World No. 8 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland is the latest big name to withdraw from this month’s US Open. Her withdrawal leaves only five of the Top 10 women’s players remaining in the US Open and it’s likely, according to informed sources, that No. 2 Simona Halep, who is playing in today’s Prague Open final on clay likely will withdraw as well.
On Saturday, Bencic wrote on her social media platforms: “…I have made the difficult decision to skip the US swing in New York and will return to the tour starting in Rome next month. I would like to thank the US Open and USTA for all their hard work and effort they have put together to have both Cincinnati and the US Open take place this month.”
— Belinda Bencic (@BelindaBencic) August 15, 2020
According to The New York Times tennis correspondent Christopher Clarey, writing on Twitter: “Lots of players saying it will be strange to play 2 big events in the same facility back to back with Western & Southern Open & US Open.”
Top 100 out of USOpen
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) August 15, 2020
Jil Teichmann: Not just a clay court player
A year ago, Swiss tennis player Jil Teichmann had lifted her second consecutive clay court trophy in Palermo coming on the heels of being victorious in Prague. Fast forward and Teichmann is nowhere to be found near either the Czech Republic capital city or southern Italy. Not to worry, though. She didn’t get lost.
Instead, the affable, 23-year-old left-handed hitting Teichmann, who was born in Barcelona and lived until age 15 in Spain before moving to Biel, Switzerland, finds herself in Lexington, Ky., in the southern United States. She’s unseeded and ranked 63rd – searching for ranking points – and playing in her first hard-court final at the inaugural Top Seed Open presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics.
For Teichmann, the decision to leave Europe and fly across the Atlantic to North America has turned beneficial for her. Along for the adventure and to guide her on the court is one of her coaches, former player Arantxa Parra Santonja. On Saturday, with her coach sitting masked in the covered bleachers, Teichmann continued her winning ways, where she’s yet to drop a set this week.
In the day’s first semifinal, Teichmann was commanding in her 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 116 Shelby Rogers of the United States, who less than 24 hours earlier had stunned top seed and World No. 9 Serena Williams in a tough, extended three-setter.
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) August 15, 2020
During her Zoom news conference with reporters after beating Rogers, first in English and later in Swiss-German, covering two of the five languages she speaks – and moments before she was due back on court to play in a doubles semifinal paired with Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic (which they won) – Teichmann said: “Everyone thinks I’m just a clay court player. I think I’ve proven that it’s not only this way.
“I’ve been feeling great on hard courts since the beginning of the year, and I was starting to have results… so I was on the right way. But all this coronavirus pandemic just made it stop, and same for everyone.
“My goal was just to get back into this level and show it again.”
In this fractured 2020 tennis season, interrupted for five months by the coronavirus pandemic, Teichmann has compiled a modest 8-4 win-loss record with her best result before Lexington occurring when she reached the second round at Lyon. Also, she won two rubbers while representing Switzerland in Fed Cup competition against Canada that qualified the Swiss for the inaugural Fed Cup Final in Budapest.
In her WTA website biography, Teichmann describes herself in one word as “unexpected.” It’s a very appropriate metaphor to describe her success this week – unexpected. After all, Teichmann was just one of a handful of Europeans in a crowded American field that made up the 32-player draw, with half of them from the United States. However, Teichmann has displayed a no-nonsense approach to her play and she’s breezed into the finals without losing a set or her temper, either.
“For me, being consistent from the baseline and moving forward to the net is where I’ve been feeling the best,” said Teichmann, in response to a question about what she’s been most proud of about her week’s accomplishments.
Today, Teichmann will face 49th-ranked American Jennifer Brady, 25, who is looking for her first WTA tour-level title on any surface. Like Teichmann, Brady has not lost a set this week and her average win has taken only 67 minutes to complete. Meanwhile, Teichmann’s four wins have averaged a respectable one hour and 17 minutes. The two finalists have some history: Teichmann beat Brady back in December 2019 at a WTA 125K series event in Limoges. Will it translate on Sunday?
“I’m really feeling confident… I just play every match, every game, every point step by step,” said Teichmann.
The new normal?
— borna coric (@borna_coric) August 14, 2020
Ready for the tennis party?
As the ATP Tour readies to return in New York for both the Western & Southern Open, beginning next weekend, followed by the US Open …
— Stefanos Tsitsipas (@StefTsitsipas) August 15, 2020
Now it can be told
Imagine this: You’re Alexis Ohanian Sr., husband of 23-time Grand Slam Serena Williams. She’s facing her sister, who happens to be your sister-in-law, future Hall of Famer Venus Williams. Who do you root for? What’s a family member to do?
These Williams v Williams matches are too stressful. https://t.co/GyYG3YcGLu
— Alexis Ohanian Sr. 🚀 (@alexisohanian) August 13, 2020
What they’re saying
As World No. 17 Stan Wawrinka forsakes coming to the United States to play in the Western & Southern Open and US Open, both in New York at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, he’s staying behind in Europe where he leads a very talented ATP Challenger field in Prague that includes Jiri Vesely, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Philipp Kohlschreiber. Wawrinka is eager to return to the court.
“These were many difficult months for everybody,” Wawrinka expressed during an interview with Czech media. “I’m looking forward to be back playing some matches here. It’s important to restart the season again with these two tournaments in Prague.
“I went to the park to see some of the city today. It was really nice and I love it here. It’s going to be a great time. For me, it was nice to spend time at home with my daughter when we were in quarantine. That was the positive for me. But I’m happy to be playing again now.”
— Stanislas Wawrinka (@stanwawrinka) August 15, 2020
What they’re sharing on social media
Kei Nishikori / Returns are ready
Returns are ready👍😁 pic.twitter.com/hbLpGQsbyM
— Kei Nishikori (@keinishikori) August 15, 2020
Naomi Osaka / Just poppy(ing) to say hi
Just poppy(ing) to say hi pic.twitter.com/UlHqhxNTS7
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) August 15, 2020
Garbiñe Muguruza / Selfie reminder …
Gym 🏋️ pic.twitter.com/vD9Q9bjdMg
— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) August 13, 2020