WTA

Bencic seals WTA Finals place, Serena Williams misses out

By Sports Desk October 19, 2019

Belinda Bencic clinched a debut appearance at the end-of-season WTA Finals, meaning Serena Williams will miss out.

Swiss star Bencic reached as high as seventh in the world rankings during the 2016 season before slumping outside the top 300, with poor form compounded by injury trouble.

But 22-year-old Bencic has returned to the top 10 since reaching the semi-finals of the US Open in September, beating defending champion Naomi Osaka along the way in New York.

A 6-3 6-4 victory over France's Kristina Mladenovic in the semi-finals of the Kremlin Cup on Saturday made sure of Bencic's appearance in the eight-player WTA Finals.

That lucrative event is the last major tournament of the WTA season and takes place in Shenzhen, China, from October 27 to November 3.

Bencic becomes the last player to secure a place, joining Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Elina Svitolina, Osaka, Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova and Bianca Andreescu.

She nudged ahead of Williams in the Race to Shenzhen to deny the American a place in the elite field for the upcoming tournament that carries prize money of $14million.

Williams has been inactive since the US Open and is unlikely to be perturbed by missing the WTA Finals.

Bencic said in an on-court interview: "I'm so happy I reached the top eight. It was a huge goal for me this season and so last-minute.

"I was so nervous before the match, but also reaching the final here [in Moscow] tomorrow is amazing. I'm so happy."

Related items

  • Nadal helps Spain past Russia, Canada stun USA Nadal helps Spain past Russia, Canada stun USA

    Rafael Nadal helped Spain to an opening win over Russia at the Davis Cup Finals, while Canada stunned the United States on Tuesday.

    After Andrey Rublev had edged Roberto Bautista Agut in Madrid, Nadal overcame Karen Khachanov 6-3 7-6 (9-7).

    The 19-time grand slam champion did not play the doubles, but Marcel Granollers and Feliciano Lopez got the job done in a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) victory over Rublev and Khachanov.

    Spain will face Croatia, who lost their opener to Russia, in Group B on Wednesday.

    Canada created history as they reached the quarter-finals from Group F with a first ever win over USA.

    The meeting of the two north American neighbours was over after the two singles matches, with Vasek Pospisil putting Canada ahead when he defeated Reilly Opelka via two tie-breaks.

    Denis Shapovalov then sealed victory for his country – their first in 16 attempts against USA – as he recorded a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 result against Taylor Fritz.

    Argentina opened Group C with a comfortable 3-0 triumph over Chile.

    Guido Pella and Diego Schwartzman defeated Nicolas Jarry and Cristian Garin respectively, both in straight sets, while the doubles pairing of Maximo Gonzalez and Leonardo Mayer sealed the sweep.

    Also on Tuesday, France overcame Japan 2-1 in Group A, Kazakhstan were too good for Netherlands 2-1 in Group E and Australia swept aside Colombia 3-0 in Group D.

  • Federer says it's still 'easy to get motivated' Federer says it's still 'easy to get motivated'

    Roger Federer insisted it was still "easy to get motivated" despite being in the later stages of his career.

    The Swiss great has won a record 20 grand slam titles, with the last of those coming at the 2018 Australian Open.

    But Federer – who is set to play Alexander Zverev in exhibition matches in North and South America – said he was still motivated, with the 38-year-old still hungry to play in front of big crowds.

    "When we come back to tennis, how do I stay motivated? It's actually quite simple," he told a news conference on Monday.

    "When you walk out to a stadium with 15,000 [or] 20,000 people, it's easy to get motivated. It would be much harder for me to play on court 16 and there be like 15 people there after everything that I've gone through. That would be hard. I tell you this, I wouldn't last super long out on court 16.

    "But playing in front of a huge crowd you get the adrenaline going, you get excited.

    "Playing against future champions [Zverev], number one in the world whenever it may be, playing for another title, it's a great feeling and I enjoy that a lot."

    Playing in the final years of his career, Federer is often asked about his retirement plans.

    Discussing how he planned to announce his retirement, Federer said he saw no reason to stop playing just yet.

    "If you look back at how a lot of the players have retired there is no rules to it. You go by feel. I actually don't know if I'm going to announce it early, late, all of a sudden," he said.

    "I think it all depends on my health, my family, on my results also a little bit obviously. I don't know the answer to be honest.

    "I'm feeling good right now and I'm really enjoying my life on the road and enjoy playing against 'Sascha' [Zverev] and the other players on the Tour.

    "I see no reason to stop, but of course with age everything gets a bit more difficult, but at the same time with experience also you can savour the moments more.

    "I don't know how it's going to end. I hope it's just going to be somewhat emotional I guess and nice. I don't know. I just hope it's going to be good the whole process and not too difficult."

  • Defending champions Croatia beaten in Davis Cup opener, Italy upset Defending champions Croatia beaten in Davis Cup opener, Italy upset

    Croatia's hopes of defending their Davis Cup title took a huge early blow as they were beaten 3-0 by Russia in Madrid on Monday.

    Champions a year ago, Croatia's chances of even progressing from the first stage in the 2019 Finals already look remote – with Rafael Nadal's Spain still to play in Group B.

    Croatia took on Russia on centre court following the opening ceremony in a match-up that was hindered by key withdrawals ahead of the tournament.

    Marin Cilic, who led Croatia to victory in 2018, missed out with injury, while Russia's Daniil Medvedev ducked out citing fatigue.

    Russia dealt with the absence of their number one in far more convincing fashion than Croatia, though, with Borna Gojo comfortably eased out 6-3 6-3 by Andrey Rublev in the first of three contests.

    The two remaining star names did battle next, but Russia again came out on top as Karen Khachanov rallied past Borna Coric 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4.

    And then Rublev and Khachanov teamed up for a straight-sets doubles success against Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic.

    Elsewhere, there was an upset as Italy went down to Canada 2-1, with both Fabio Fognini and Matteo Berrettini beaten in singles play.

    Vasek Pospisil, ranked 150th in the world, defeated Khachanov at the US Open and claimed another scalp against Fognini, before Berrettini was turned over by Denis Shapovalov.

    Italy sent in their two stars for the doubles, where they gained a measure of revenge over Pospisil and Shapovalov, winning in three.

    Belgium survived David Goffin's awful start to his rubber to win 2-1 against Colombia.

    Steve Darcis had earlier seen off Santiago Giraldo in straight sets, but Goffin fell four games behind in the opener against Daniel Elahi Galan before staging a fightback.

    He won 3-6 6-3 6-3, although Colombia got on the board with a doubles comeback from Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.