WASHINGTON, August 17, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
World No. 2 Simona Halep proved she still has game – even after a five-month imposed hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, Halep beat third seed and World No. 23 Elise Mertens of Belgium, 6-2, 7-5 to win the WTA Prague Open title, in which she also collected $25,000 in prize money and 280 WTA Rankings points. Her 21st WTA title victory places her fifth among active players, but the big question remains: Will Halep play the US Open, which begins Aug. 31?
Title #21! Soo happy I could come here, fight hard and lift the trophy 🏆
Thanks to @tennispragueopn for a special tournament, they worked hard to make us feel safe and pulled it off 🙏
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) August 16, 2020
During a scaled back post-match ceremony on the red clay Centre Court at TK Sparta Praha, Halep was asked directly during her on-court interview about the US Open. After all, with World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty staying home in Australia, Halep would be elevated to the top seed. She said will make her decision Monday.
“Monday I will have it,” Halep said, asked about her status of coming to New York to play. “Now, it’s too fast to take a decision. I just want to enjoy this victory and then I will have a thought about US Open.”
Currently, among the Top 10 who are out of the US Open are: No. 1 Barty, No. 5 Elina Svitolina, defending champion and No. 6 Bianca Andreescu, No. 7 Kiki Bertens and No. 8 Belinda Bencic. That means, until Halep decides, those among the Top 10 who are in are: No. 3 Karolina Pliskova, No. 4 Sofia Kenin, No. 9 Serena Williams and No. 10 Naomi Osaka.
Nishikori tests positive for COVID-19
Kei Nishikori of Japan posted on his social media platforms Sunday afternoon that he’s tested positive for COVID-19. He’s pulled out of the Western & Southern Open, which begins Saturday in at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, and will delay his departure from Florida to New York.
Kei Nishikori has tested positive for coronavirus. https://t.co/H3SBb1fmEl
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) August 16, 2020
The first time Andy beat Roger
On August 16, 2009, Andy Murray, just 19, beat Roger Federer for the first time. It was at the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio, and Murray’s win stopped Federer’s 55-match winning streak on hard courts.
1st Brit to win the @RogersCup ✅
4th Masters win ✅
13th @atptour title ✅#OnThisDay in 2009 @andy_murray fought back from a set down to beat Juan Martín del Potro to take home the silverware in Montreal pic.twitter.com/lTcMX8unH8
— LTA (@the_LTA) August 16, 2020
The Way Back Machine – Super Swiss
— ITF (@ITF_Tennis) August 16, 2020
Happy 90th Birthday, Tony Trabert
A legendary player, commentator, and incomparable ambassador for the sport.
— Tennis Hall of Fame (@TennisHalloFame) August 16, 2020
Happy 28th Birthday, Diego Schwartman
One of the finest players on the ATP Tour!
— ATP Tour (@atptour) August 16, 2020
What they’re saying
American 116th-ranked Shelby Rogers, whose quarterfinal upset of World No. 9 Serena Williams at the Top Seed Open in Lexington, Ky., on Friday garnered plenty of attention …
“It’s every kid’s dream when they are growing up watching her play and to be able to do something like that. Weird circumstances. Weird setting. But a win is a win. I know we’re all just happy to be playing”
Shelby Rogers after beating Serena Williams in Lexington pic.twitter.com/UfZzyZS2wE
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) August 14, 2020
What they’re writing
Reem Abulleil, tennis columnist for The National, has written an excellent profile, “Donia Shuhaiber is proud to play her part in bringing back tennis back from coronavirus hiatus,” about Top Seed Tennis Club owner Donia Shuhaiber. A Palestinian-Egyptian from Dubai, Suhaiber invested in the Lexington, Ky., club with a goal of promoting a positive culture centered on inclusion and acceptance.
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) August 15, 2020
What they’re sharing on social media
Caroline Garcia / Ready to fly
— Caroline Garcia (@CaroGarcia) August 16, 2020
Alizé Cornet / All packed and ready
Allez ciao la maison, le tennis m’appelle 🎾✊🏼✈🇺🇸 ! pic.twitter.com/WMp0VPYlIR
— Alize Cornet (@alizecornet) August 15, 2020
Andreas Mies / We’re ready!
— Andreas Mies (@AndreasMies) August 16, 2020