Watson, Matusevich Win Battle Of Brits Titles

WASHINGTON, December 24, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

British women’s No. 2 Heather Watson, the highest-ranked at No. 58 among the women competing at the Battle of the Brits Premier League of Tennis competition, went undefeated in the four-day round-robin event and finished first in the standings. On Wednesday afternoon, Watson easily won her fourth and final match with a 7-6 (2), 6-2 victory over British No. 5 Francesca Jones, ranked No. 241, that lasted two hours and four minutes.

After five consecutive breaks of serve to open the match, Jones was broken by Watson while serving for the set, ahead 5-4. Later, Watson breezed through the first-set tie break 7-2. Then, Watson took a commanding double-break 4-0 lead to begin the second set and won on her third match-point opportunity.

Meanwhile, British men’s No. 15 Anton Matusevich, ranked 560th, was a surprise champion in the men’s draw. The 19-year-old Matusevich beat British No. 8 and fellow 19-year-old Jack Draper, ranked No. 303rd, 6-3, 2-6, 10-8, to finish with three wins and one loss.

British No. 3 Cameron Norrie (ranked 71st) upset British No. 1 Dan Evans (ranked 32nd) on the final day, 6-3, 6-2, in an earlier match. Other final-day winners included Aidan McHughEden Silva and Jodie Burrage.

Players received three points for a win over any player ranked inside the world’s Top 250; two points for a win over a player ranked between 251-600; and one point for winning a set while losing a match. Watson finished first among the women with nine points followed by Silva with six and Emma Raducanu was third with five points. Matusevich and Draper each finished with seven points (with Matusevich finishing ahead due to his head-to-head victory over Draper) and Andy Murray was third with six points.

Battle of the Brits results/standings

Making the Australian Open COVID safe

Fans lucky enough to score tickets to the 2021 Australian Open will be separated into three strict zones – meaning, they will not be free to roam the Melbourne Park grounds.

According to news reports, each ticket will be assigned to a single zone, which comes with its own entrance, separate walkways and access to specific areas of Melbourne Park. Tickets are being sold in “pods” of up to six persons, who will be given permission to sit together, socially distanced from other spectators.

• Zone 1 tickets will limit fans to Rod Laver Arena and much of the Grand Slam Oval food, drink and sponsor area.

• Zone 2 tickets give fans access to Margaret Court Arena, outside (western) courts on the city side of Melbourne Park and also to Garden Square, where fans can sit and watch matches on a big screen.

• Zone 3 tickets will admit fans to the newly-named John Cain Arena plus outside courts east of Rod Laver Arena, the practice village (where players warm up) and a portion of the Grand Slam Oval.

There will be no allowances for fans to go from one zone to another.

Only 25 percent – or about 203,000 of the usual 800,000-plus tickets sold will be available for purchase. All tickets will be digital and are currently on sale at ticketmaster.com.au.

Australian Open ticket sales

Ticket sales for the 2021 Australian Open, main draw scheduled for Melbourne Park from Feb. 8-21, began on Wednesday.

WTA 500 Abu Dhabi entry list

The initial entry list for the WTA 500 Abu Dhabi, UAE event includes four Top 10 players – No. 4 Sofia Kenin, No. 5 Elina Svitolina, No. 6 Karolina Pliskova and No. 10 Aryna Sabalenka – and four others in the Top 20: No. 12 Belinda Bencic, No. 15 Garbiñe Muguruza, No. 19 Elena Rybakina and No. 20 Elise Mertens. The main draw runs from Jan. 6-13.

ATP 250 Antalya entry list

The initial entry list for the ATP 250 Antalya, Turkey event includes three Top 20 players – No. 10 Matteo Berrettini, No. 15 David Goffin and No. 17 Fabio Fognini – and five others in the Top 40: No. 23 Alex de Minaur, No. 24 Borna Coric, No. 28 Benoit Paire, No. 36 Jan-Lennard Struff and No. 37 Jannik Sinner. The main draw runs from Jan. 7-13.

ATP 250 Delray Beach entry list

The initial entry list for the ATP 250 Delray Beach, Fla. event includes three Top 30 players – No. 14 Milos Raonic, No. 22 Cristian Garin and No. 25 John Isner – and five others in the Top 50: No. 32 Dan Evans, No. 34 Hubert Hurkacz, No. 35 Adrian Mannarino, No. 7 Reilly Opelka and No. 41 Kei Nishikori. The main draw runs from Jan. 7-13.

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