Kasatkina outduels Rogers in thrilling final to win Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic singles title

Daria Kasatkina shows off her championship trophy at the podium of the San Jose State Tennis Center on Sunday AUG 7, 2022. (Sports Radio Service)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE — Twice was the charm for Daria Kasatkina.

The 25-year-old Russian earned her first singles title of the year by defeating American Shelby Rogers in an exciting three set match 6-7 6-1 6-2 to win the sold out final of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic on Sunday afternoon at the San Jose State Tennis Center.

Kasatkina, who was a finalist at the MSVC last year, lost an epic first set to Rogers that lasted an hour and eighteen minutes. The set featured both players breaking serve twice with many of the games going back and forth in deuce battles.

Rogers won the tie-breaker 7-2 to claim the first set but wasn’t able to keep the momentum going in the second set. Kasatkina utilized her serve as well as her big weapon backhand to create winners or unforce errors by Rogers.

The turning point of the match was in the second set with Kasatkina up 4-1. The current 9th ranked player in the world was down 0-40 and fight her way back to win the next five points to take the game and eventually evening up the set one apiece.

“For sure that game helped me a lot,” said Kasatkina. “I felt good at that moment and that I would close out the set anyway. But when I came back in this game, at that moment I felt like I had to push right now and don’t give her a thing. It’s the kind of moments during the match when you’re not thinking about finishing the job, but when you have to push a little more to make it easier for the third set.”

Rogers suffered a wardrobe malfunction after the first game of the third set. The equipment out of adjustment rule was used so Rogers could switch out her old uniform for a new one that was quickly rushed out to her.

Kasatkina controlled the third set and cruised the rest of the way to the title winning the final six points of the match. When asked how she plans to celebrate her first title of the season Kasatkina said she has one bottle of sparkling wine but she’s not planning on popping it open.

“I’m not wasting it. I don’t like to waste important things. I’ll keep it and celebrate with my team,” Kasatkina said.

For Rogers, who played in her first singles final since 2016, that first ever title still eludes her since her career began in 2009. She is currently ranked 45th in the WTA rankings.

“I tried to do a different tactic of coming into the net a little bit to prepare me for the third set and to see if I could get a different rhythm going,” said Rogers. “She (Kasatkina) just really locked in and didn’t give me any free points.”

Rogers also said despite the outcome she is satisfied with her play and is looking forward to the rest of the hardcourt season.

“I was one set away, got one set closer (to winning the title). It was much better than the last time I played her (Kasatkina). So I’m really happy with a lot of the improvements I made today and just need to do it for a little bit longer,” Rogers said.

In the double finals earlier on in the day, the Chinese duo of Xu Yifan Yang Zhaoxuan took home their second doubles title of the year when they defeated the team of Chinese-Taipei’s Chang Hao-Ching and Japan’s Shuko Aoyama in straight sets 7-5 6-0.

The match was evenly played during the first set until Xu and Yang broke serve at 3-3 and then finished off the set breaking serve at 6-5.

The second set was dominated by Xu and Yang. At one point they won nine consecutive points as they didn’t lose a game to clinch their doubles championship.

“We were focused on every point,” said Yang. “We weren’t paying to attention to the score as much because I think it’s important to focus on our strategies and the mindset was our goal during the match.”

Xu and Yang also won the doubles title at Indian Wells back in March.

The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic tournament returns for it’s 52nd year in 2023 to the San Jose State Tennis Center from July 31-August 6.


Rogers and Kasatkina advance their way to USA-Russia final showdown at Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic

Shelby Rogers intensely returns a serve against Veronika Kudermetova in her semifinal matchup at the San Jose State Tennis Center on Saturday AUG 6, 2022. (Neal Waters)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE — American Shelby Rogers is one win away from her first title in 2022.

Rogers shot down Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova in straight sets 6-3 6-4 in her semifinal matchup on Saturday afternoon at the San Jose State Tennis Center.

It is the first final appearance for the 29-year-old veteran since 2016. She was able to break serve to open and close the first set that saw Rogers utilize her serve against Kudermetova.

In the second set Kudermetova tried to reverse course by breaking serve to open the second set. She was in good position to send the match to a third when she was serving up 4-3. However, Kudermetova lost her serve and ended up losing the game on a double fault.

Sensing the momentum shift, Rogers took advantage and won the final three games to close out the match to secure her first final appearance of the season. She lost in the semifinals against the Aryna Sabalenka at the Libema Open back in June.

“I felt like that was a huge game for me,” said Rogers. “If I could just swing out and get the breaks somehow, I would be in a really good position. I got a little lucky, she (Kudermetova) missed a couple of first serves here and there which you’re always thankful for that. I thought I stayed really solid and made her (to try to) outplay me. I was pretty excited with that tactic.”

Kudermetova is now 2-2 in semifinals appearances on the season and is 0-2 against Rogers in 2022.

“I was a little bit frustrated. I tried to push myself. I tried to be more aggressive and play more inside the court without making mistakes. Today I just couldn’t play well,” Kudermetova said.

In the other semifinal, Russia’s Daria Kasatkina punched her ticket to her second straight MSVC final appearance with a straight sets victory over the number two seed Paula Badosa of Spain 6-2 6-4.

“I’m really happy to be back on the finals,” said Kasatkina, the world’s number 12 player. “Looks like San Jose has been a nice place for me (to play in).”

Kasatkina played an aggressive style while being able to pick her spots down the lines. This is Kasatkina’s first semifinals win of the season (1-2). Her last semifinals appearance was at this year’s French Open where she lost to number one player in the world Iga Swiatek.

“I tried to have move her (Badosa) around as much as possible and break her rhythm. Today it worked,” Kasatkina said.

Badosa, ranked fourth in the world, started the second set up 2-0 but wasn’t able to keep the momentum going as Kasatkina was able to break serve two times during the second set and won the final games to clinch the match.

“Yeah it’s always tough when you play the caliber of these player,” said Badosa. “Because it feels like the court gets very very small. It gets smaller and smaller every time. I give credit to her (Kasatkina) because that’s what she does, and she does it very well.”

The doubles final is set as the team of Shuko Aoyama and Hao-Ching Chan defeated Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos in three sets 2-6 7-6 10-3. They will take on the team of Yifan Xu and Zhaoxuan Yang, who defeated Kudermetova and Zhang Shaui in three sets 5-7 6-2 10-7, at 2:00pm on Sunday.

UP NEXT: Kasatkina vs Rogers in the MSVC final on Sunday 8/7 at 4:00pm at San Jose State Tennis Center.

Gauff cruises past Osaka, Rogers upsets number one seed Sakkari and Sabalenka advances to quarterfinals on Day 4 at MSVC

Coco Gauff celebrates her victory over Naomi Osaka in her round of 16 match at the San Jose State Tennis Center on Thursday AUG 4, 2022. (Ed Jay-Ultimate Sports Guide)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE — This is Coco Gauff’s tournament to lose.

The 18-year-old sensation powered past four-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka in straight sets 6-4 6-4 in her round of 16 match that highlighted Day 4 action at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic on Wednesday evening at the San Jose State Tennis Center.

Gauff broke service once in the first and twice in the second set to punch her ticket to the quarterfinals on a night where a sold-out crowd of 2,250 witnessed the phenom in all her glory. Gauff will face second seeded Paula Badosa on Friday afternoon.

Osaka, down 1-5 in the second set, surged back into it winning the next three matches by fighting off match point seven times. In the end Gauff was too much to handle as she served to win the final game and the match that lasted just under 90 minutes.

“I think I have improved in all aspects (of my game),” said Gauff. “I think today showed it. I knew playing Naomi (Osaka) was going to be tough. I think she has one of the best baseline games in the game. I think today I really held my ground and was really a lot more of those rallies that she was and I think that shows how much I’ve been improving in the last few weeks.”

For Osaka, despite the outcome she was pleased to be back on the court playing again since last playing a tournament in May of this year.

“Dang I’m really sore!,” Osaka laughingly said when asked what her experience was like this week. “I totally forgot how that felt. It’s really good to get my foot in the door again. My friends, they cheered me up after the match. But honestly, I wasn’t that upset.

American Shelby Rogers continued her impressive run at Mubadala with her straight sets upset victory over number one seeded Maria Sakkari of Grece 6-1 6-3.

Rogers showcased her strong serve that had not only the number three player in the world flabbergasted but everyone in the crowd as well. She fired 10 aces during the match.

While Rogers looked confident and in control, Sakkari looked flat on the hard court and was not able to establish her game in the match that was completed in just 72 minutes.

“I think for me, this week I’m just stepping up to the line,” Rogers said. “First target that comes to my mind I’m going with it. I’m not second guessing myself. Just trusting it as much as I can. It’s a little bit of conviction and it’s been working.”

Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka won a tough three-set match against American Caroline Dolehide 5-7 6-1 7-5. Sabalenka started the match off slow but gained her form in the second set.

Dolehide didn’t go down quietly in the third set as she evened the set at 5-5. Sabalenka was able to break serve and win the final two games to advance to the Friday’s quarterfinals.

“It was a pretty crazy match,” said Sabalenka. “She (Dolehide) played really well. I didn’t play well in the first set, and I was struggling with my serve to be honest. In the second and third sets I was able to come back and fight through the up and downs during this match.”

In earlier action, Veronika Kudermetova defeated American Claire Liu in straight sets 6-2 7-5 to advance to her first Mubadala quarterfinals. She takes on number two seeded Ons Jabeur on Friday afternoon.

Kudermetova also has success in doubles action. Her and her partner Zhang Shuai defeated the team of Dolehide and Storm Sanders in a three-set match 6-2 5-7 10-8 to advance to the semifinals.

The final doubles match to conclude the evening itinerary had Shuko Aoyama and Hao Ching-Chan defeat the duo of Demi Schuurs and Desirae Krawcyzk 6-3 6-3 to advance to the semi-finals.

UP NEXT: It’s an all-American affair when Amanda Anisimova battles Rogers in the evening’s featured quarterfinal match on Friday at 7:00pm at the San Jose Tennis Center.

Jabeur, Anisimova and Badosa advance, Mandlik’s Cinderella run ends on Day 3 at MSCV

Ons Jabeur smashes a forehand return against Madison Keys at the San Jose State Tennis Center on Wednesday AUG 3, 2022. (MSVC)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE — In a battle of power versus finesse, it was finesse that proved mightier.

Third seeded Ons Jabeur was in total control in her straight sets victory over American Madison Keys 7-5 6-1 in the evening’s featured match to highlight Day 3 at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose State Tennis Center.

The first set was evenly played between both players until late in the set. A medical timeout happened after Jabeur was leading 6-5 when Keys cut her finger getting a water bottle. Play resumed after the medical team was able to stop the bleeding on Key’s finger.

Jabeur, known for her perfectly placed drop shots, was relentless in the second set and never allowed Keys to get back into the match. Jabeur dictated the pace of play as Keys was unable to play her normally fast and aggressive style.

“I think I was more comfortable when it was 5-5 (in the first set),” said Jabeur. “I changed some things technically. I was returning (serves) better, I stepped in more on the court. There were a lot of key moments, key points during the 5-5 (tie). She could’ve worked her serve there but I was making less mistakes and making her play one more shot.”

Number two seed Paula Badosa escaped with a three-set victory over up and coming 21-year-old Elizabeth Mandlik 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-5).

Badosa cruised through the first set, but Mandlik stormed back in the second set to even the match. Mandlik had a chance to close out match when she was serving up 6-5 in the third set but Badosa broke serve and ended up tying it up at 6-6 to send the match to the deciding tiebreaker.

Badosa was able to outlast Mandlik in the tiebreaker winning it 7-5 and the match to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals on Friday. She let out a ferocious yell after winning match point.

“I think my experience helped me to win the match,” said Badosa. “I think I played at a pretty good level. She (Mandlik) played amazing. The fight that I have and accepting everyone (challenge) is what gave me the win.”

Both players had more unforced errors than winners and had several double faults throughout the match that was 2:31 long.

Mandlik had an impressive run at the tournament winning two matches in the qualifying stage before defeating Alison Riske Amritraj to make it to the round of 16.

“I for sure felt like I had the match so it’s very disappointing. I know that I can play with pretty much anybody and she (Bedosa) is (number) two in the world. So my belief (in my ability) is much higher than it was, and I’ll just keep pushing (forward) from there.”

In earlier action, Amanda Anisimova stormed back after dropping the first set to defeat eight seed Karolina Pliskova in three sets 3-6 7-5 6-1.

Anisimova was able to find her groove in the second set as she took control of the match after winning the second set. Pliskova had no answers for Anisimova who advanced to the quarterfinals after cruising through the third set.

Anisimova trailed, 6-3, 3-2, but broke Pliskova’s serve to love at that stage and proceeded to win 10 of the next 11 games. 

Fifth time was the charm for Anisimova who had been 0-4 against Pliskova previously and had only won one set.

“I started to play more of my game in the second set to shake off the nerves,” said Anisimova. “It was pretty hot (outside), I was fighting. I knew I had to stay focused every point. Sometimes I start off slow but (because) my game is pretty aggressive, it’s not the easiest to play sometimes. I was just happy I was able to find my groove.”

For Pliskova it was a disappointing to start to the hardcourt circuit of the tour.

“I had a good couple of matches. Both of them were super close, three setters. I feel like I’m close but for sure it was not my best tennis. But there is a long way to go till the US Open,” Pliskova said.

Last year’s finalist Daria Kasatkina took care of Taylor Townsend in straight sets 6-4 6-0. Kasatkina proved to be too much for Townsend who came into the round of 16 after winning her first match since 2015.

Kasatkina finished the match with four aces and won 62.5% of her total service points to advance to her second straight MSVC Quarterfinals. Townsend was not able to keep up with Kasatkina’s serve, only winning 29.5% of first return points.

“I wish!” said Kasatkina when asked if this year’s tournament felt like a repeat of her run in 2021. “I don’t know. I’ve already played and won two matches. If I can reach the final that would be great for me, if not there there’s a tournament next week and one another week after that.”

In doubles actions, the Chinese duo of Xu Yifan and Yang Zhaoxuan defeated the team of Nadiia Kichenok and Tereza Mihalikova in straight sets 6-3 6-3. The team of Latisha Chan and Beatriz Haddad-Maia beat the American duo of Asia Nuhammad and Taylor Townsend in straight sets 6-2 7-6 and the last doubles match of the night had the team of Gabriela Dabrowksi and Guiliani Olmos defeat the American duo of Emina Betkas and Kaitlyn Christian in straight sets 6-3 6-2.

UP NEXT: Tournament favorites Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka clash in a battle for a spot in the quarterfinals as the evening’s feature match on Thursday 8/4 at 7:00pm at the San Jose State Tennis Center.

Gauff loses just one game in dominating straight sets route of Kalinina in evening match on Day 2 at Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic

Coco Guaff returns a service ball from Anhelina Kalinina on Stadium Cout at the San Jose State Tennis Center on Tuesday AUG 2, 2022. (Ed Jay-Ultimate Sports Guide)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE — Coco Gauff is a woman possessed while having fun all at the same time.

Gauff needed just 54 minutes to defeat Anhelina Kalinina in straight sets 6-1 6-0 in the featured evening match on Day 2 of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classico at the San Jose State Tennis Center.

At just 18-years old, Gauff is currently ranked 11th in the world and is starting to become a force on the WTA Tour. She finished the match with seven aces and won 89% of his first serve points, including a kill shot to clinch the victory.

The 25-year-old Kalinina did not have any answers to what Gauff threw at her in the mismatch.

“I think it was just one of those days where everything was working,” said Gauff. “I think against anybody, I would’ve won tonight. Everything was in place. I mean even the challenges I made were going my way. A that point, if you’re on the other side of the net, you can’t get mad, it’s just not your night.”

Gauff said she really fed off the energy of the near capacity crowd.

“I think it made me play better. It felt almost like a concert, with everybody just enjoying the show. Obviously, San Jose, I’m going to be honest, I didn’t know how the crowd was going to be, I didn’t know what to expect. The crowd’s energy was so loud and straight forward,” Gauff said.

Naomi Osaka made her triumphant return to the Bay Area when she defeated Zheng Qinwen in a three-set victory 6-4 3-6 6-1in the final match of the afternoon.

Osaka, the four-time Grand Slam champion, jumped out to a one set lead before Zheng came back to take the second set that had Osaka frustrated at times. However, Osaka, ranked 41st in the world, cruised to victory in the third set by winning the first five games of the match as she used her serve and backhand to dominate Zheng to close it out.

“I definitely would say I had a lot of confidence in that third set. I’m not sure if this is subconscious or not. But I do remember thinking it’s going to be very hard for her to break me because I’ve learned a lot challenging that last ball of the game that I did get broken,” Osaka said.

American Shelby Rogers defeated the 2019 US Open Champion Bianca Andreescu in straight sets 6-4 6-2. Andreescu experienced pain in her back during the first set when it was 3-2. She tried getting it stretched out in between the first and second sets but the pain hindered her playing capabilities the rest of the set.

“My hope was for a miracle to happen I guess,” Andreescu said regarding the physical therapy she received on the court. “(Hoping) Shelby (Rogers) would start missing every shot. I am the type of person that just pushes through things. I’ve retired (from matches) so many times, I honestly didn’t want to do that again.”

Rogers was able to take advantage with her serve and outpowered Andreescu to cruise to victory in the second set in a match that lasted 91 minutes. Rogers has a showdown with top seed Maria Sakkari on Thursday evening.

“We’ve all been in that situation and if you’re not feeling 100 percent you want to fight even harder and not miss a ball. It’s sort of the ‘wounded bear syndrome’ where you don’t feel great, so you have nothing to lose. So, you have to focus even harder,” Rogers said.

In earlier action during the afternoon, Caroline Dolehide defeated Kayla Day in straight sets 7-6 6-4 in the day’s opening match.

Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova earned a three-set victory over Italy’s Camila Giorgi 7-6 4-6 7-5 to advance to the round of 16. The 19th ranked Kudermetova had a comfortable lead 5-2 lead in the second set only to have Giorgi storm back to tie it at 5-5.

Kudermetova finished off the match winning the final two games to complete the epic match that finished in just under three hours (2:54).

In doubles action, the team of Caroline Dolehide and Storm Sanders defeated the team of Natela Dzalamidze and Kamilla Rakhimova in straight sets 6-3 7-6. The American duo of Ashlyn Krueger and Elizabeth Mandlik defeated the team of Karolina Pliskova and Jil Teichmann also in straight sets 7-6 6-1 and the team consisting of Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs had a straight sets victory over Amina Anshba and Elena Rybakina 6-2 6-2.

The final match of the evening had Clair Liu defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia in straight sets 6-2 7-5.

NEWS AND NOTES: Today’s Day session attendance was 2,005. It was the highest for a day session for this tournament since 2011.

UP NEXT: Madison Keys takes on #3 seed Ons Jabeur in the featured evening match on Wednesday at 7:00pm.

Kasatkina upsets Wimbeldon champ Rybakina in three set match on Day 1 at Mubadala

Daria Kasatkina hits a winner during her match against Elena Rybakina during the Day 1 of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at the San Jose State Tennis Center on AUG 1, 2022. (Neal Waters)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE — Daria Kasatkina likes playing in San Jose.

The 2021 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic finalist recovered from a tough first set and took control of the final two sets to upset the defending Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina 1-6 6-2 6-0 in a three-set victory in the evening’s featured match on Day 1 at the San Jose State Tennis Center.

The match didn’t get off to a great start for Kasatkina as Rybakina dominated the first set with her powerful serve and backhand that overwhelmed Kasatkina, who had trouble keeping up with the pace of play.

Everything changed in the second set. Kasatkina was able to break serve in the fourth game and rode the momentum with establishing her own service game. Rybakina began to commit many unforced errors and it snowballed into frustrated to the point that she could not recover her composure and attack the net which her game is known for.

“Every loss is always a lesson,” said Rybakina. “I think if I were more focused in the second set, maybe it would’ve gone my way. I knew if the match went three sets, it would not be an advantage for me. I was tired physically and you could see with all the (unforced) errors that my focused was just not there anymore.”

Kasatkina finished off the match winning seven straight games, including 12 of the last 14 going back to the second set. The seventh seeded Kasatkina said she could sense Rybakina’s frustration and smelled blood in the water.

“When you feel that the opponent is starting to miss (their shots), it completely changes the picture of the match. But in the second set I found the power, the speed, how I was supposed to play. And after I found it, it was much better.”

Fan favorite Madison Keys cruised to a straight sets victory over Shuai Zhang in the final afternoon matchup 6-4 6-2. The 27th ranked Keys overpowered Zhang with her powerful serve that clocked out at 115 mph. Key recorded seven aces during the 59-minute match and won 81% of her first serve points that Zhang had no answer for.

Keyes broke serve once in the first set and twice in the second set to advance to the round of 16.

When asked if this is the best her serve has been this season Keys responded with a laughing retort, “Maybe? I don’t know. I think I’ve served well in periods throughout this year. Obvious today it was not only helping me win free points, but it also got me out of a few tricky situations in the second set.”

In other action earlier on during the afternoon, 22nd ranked Amanda Anisimova defeated fellow American Ashlyn Krueger in straight sets 6-2 7-6 to advance to the round of 16.

15th ranked Karolina Pliskova of Czhechia won a grueling three-set match over Great Britain’s Katie Boulter 1-6 7-6 6-3. After easily winning the first set 6-1, Boulter almost pulled off an incredible comeback while being down 0-5 in the second set. Boulter won the next six out of seven games to force the tiebreaker that Pliskova eventually won to force the deciding third set. In the end Pliskova’s experience proved to be too much for Boulter as Pliskova finished off the match in just nine games in the third set.

American Taylor Townsend defeated Australia’s Storm Sanders in straight sets 6-1 6-4. It was Townsend’s first level win since her first-round victory over Jessica Pegula at the 2020 Australian Open.

The final match of the evening featured a battle of youth versus experience. 21-year-old Elizabeth Mandlik defeated the elder Alison Riske-Amritraj in straight sets 6-3 6-3. Mandlik came into the tournament in the qualifying stages and has advanced to the round of 16 with her third consecutive victory in her first singles main draw in the WTA. Mandlik is the daughter of Grand Slam tennis champion Hana Mandlíková.

“When I hit the ace (to end the match), I was like no way!” said Mandlik when asked what it felt like to earn his first main draw win. “I was looking on Instagram and my brother posted a story with my mom in the background (saying) ‘No way this just didn’t happen’. For me I believe it. It means everything to me, it’s so special.”

In the only doubles match of the day, the team of Japan’s Shuko Aoyama and Chinese-Taipe’s Hao-Ching Chan defeated the Japanese duo of Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya in straight sets 7-6 6-4.

UP NEXT: Coco Gauff makes her return to the Bay Area when she battles Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalnina in the featured evening match at 7:00pm on Stadium Court.

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: WTA Suspends all Tournaments in China

Peng Shuai Chinese tennis superstar is seen here at the women’s singles match against Samantha Stosur of Australia on the second day at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, on July 3, 2018. Peng’s disappearance is one of the major reasons why the WTA is pulling out from the 2022 Olympics in Beijing (AP News file photo)

WTA Suspends all Tournaments in China

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

The Women’s Tennis Association is suspending all tournaments in China, including Hong Kong. The announcement was made by WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon. This decision comes after Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai alleged she was sexually assaulted by Zhang Gaoli, former Vice Premier of China.

This suspension of activities also includes Hong Kong, aside from China. After Peng made the announcement on social media the Chinese government deleted her post on the site Weibo and also her account. For weeks there has been concern for the safety of the Chinese tennis star.

Mr. Steve Simon said: “Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way. While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation,” Simon said in the statement. “The WTA has been clear on what is needed here, and we repeat our call for a full and transparent investigation – without censorship – into Peng Shuai’s sexual assault accusation.”

It is not clear how many tournament this suspension will affect but Simon said he is “greatly concerned” of the risks all players will face if they were to play in China.

The 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled for Beijing, China on February 2. There is world pressure on companies to speak on defense of Peng Shuai and, at worst; the United States could boycott the Olympics.

According to the UN, Communist China continues to show disregard for human rights in many issues, including forced labor camps for minorities. It is believed that China as it was estimated that Chinese authorities may have detained up to 1.5 million people mostly groups of ethnic Muslims and Christians in internment camps.

The WTA (World Tennis Association) has shown a lot of balls in defense of this Chinese tennis star. So far no other sports league in the US has supported the WTA, who is picking principals over materialism, as they stand to lose a lot of money by this move.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Mystery in the Tennis World Where is Peng Shuai?

Peng Shuai seen in first round match against Japan’s Nao Habino at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Jan 21, 2020. Has contacted the IOC and informed them that she well and safe and in Beijing (AP News file photo)

Mystery in the Tennis World: Where is Peng Shuai?

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Ms.Peng Shuai is 35, from China and one of the top professional tennis players in the world. She is ranked #1 in doubles in the world by the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association). This top women’s tennis association was founded in 1973 by Billy Jean King in London, England, with US headquarters in St.Petersburg, Florida.

Ms.Peng recently accused Mr.Zhang Gaoli, 75, a retired politician who served as the senior Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China from 2013 to 2018 and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, which is China’s highest ruling council.

According to Ms.Peng, Mr. Gaoli invited her to his home about 3 years ago and that she was raped. “That afternoon I didn’t consent at first” and added “I was crying the entire time”. Ms.Peng Shuai wrote a note on November 2 on Weibo (a Chinese social platform) and in this post she made the announcement to the public.

Since then she has not been seen in person. Last week there was a statement that it was released by the Chinese media and allegedly was written by Ms.Shuai. However, it looked contrived and many are concerned that she did not write it, but was produced from the government.

According to the New York Times, the tennis star disappeared from public view after she made the accusation. This weekend the editor of a Communist Party controlled newspaper posted a video clip that appeared to show Ms.Peng eating at a restaurant and later at a tennis event in Beijing. But the world has little confidence on what the Communist controlled media of China releases to the world. Steve Simon an official of the WTA said he remained skeptical that Ms.Peng was making decisions freely.

During the covid-19 pandemic, record shows that many doctors and virologist spoke about this virus in a way not beneficial to the government and were quickly silenced. Many disappeared and have not been seen since the beginning of the epidemic that according to most “in the known” began at the Wuhan Laboratories. China’s communist government has a long record of their treatment of people who threaten to undermine public confidence in the party’s senior leaders.

Even before this incident was revealed the United States was and still considering a move to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing this next February for their dismal record in human rights violations. It is believed that Chinese authorities may have detained between 1.5 to 2 million people, mostly Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslims and Christians and have internment into secret camps of forced labor.

For Ms.Peng Shuai is just another incident that is “piling on” the Chinese government record and treatment of humans in all sectors of life. The United Nations lists China as one of the top world human rights violators.

When it comes to the media in China, it is understood that unlike here in the US, where you have all types of opinions and most are never censored by the government, in China, the media can be censored because they are directly under the rule and control of their government. In other world; what the Chinese media says, is basically the official word of the communist government of that country and Sports are also under the control of that government.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Collins defeats Kasatkina to capture Mubadala Silicon Valley Championship in a three set victory


by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE—Danielle Collins is living up on cloud nine.

The American came into San Jose on fire, winning the Palermo Open, and left town scorching as she defeated Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in an emotional three-sets victory 6-3 6-7 (11-9) 6-1 to conclude the 50th anniversary of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic on Sunday afternoon at the San Jose State Tennis Complex.

It is the second straight tournament championship for Collins as well as the second of her career.

It has not been all beds of roses for Collins in 2021. The 27-year old budding tennis star had surgery back in April for endometriosis. The condition is where cells like the ones in the lining of the womb grow elsewhere in the body. It caused her too much physical agony.

“Before my surgery, I was having to pull out of so many tournaments because of what I was dealing with my endometriosis,”, said Collins. “Now that I’m feeling better, it’s hard for me to think back to all of the weeks and days and months of having to deal with that. Always having to work around my training, always having to take stuff for (the pain) and not have it get any better. So I’m just trying to embrace every moment of feeling good.”

Collins broke serve in the first set when she was up 4-3 and used that momentum to close out the set.

In the second set Kasatkina was down 5-3 and ended up breaking serve at 4-4. However Collins rallied to tie it up at 6-6, sending the second set in an epic tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker went back and forth with neither player budging. A couple times during the tiebreaker Collins became frustrated with fans cheering before the point was over. Kasatkina seized the moment and ended up winning the tiebreaker 11-9 to force the deciding third set.

In the third set, Collins regained her form and was able to control the final seven games as Kasatkina looked to be running on fumes the rest of the way.

“I did get the sense that (with) my tactics I was doing the right thing,” said Collins. I did feel I was wearing her down a little bit. I was really persistent, (saying to myself) I got this. “

Collins had Kasatkina running up and down the court throughout the entire match and it proved to be too much for Kasatkina.

“She started up 2-0 in the beginning (of the third set),” said Kasatkina. “When (your) opponent is winning game by game in the third set and you already pretty tired, then yes it seems like the life is leaving your body.”

When asked after all she has been through with her physical well being, if she thought she would be a two-time winner this year, Collins would have never envisioned her recent success.

“It wasn’t even a thought in my brain. Honestly, one of my goals was to win a tournament this year. To now win two, it’s been…incredible. It’s still hard to comprehend that I’ve won two (tournaments) back to back. Like I said yesterday, that wouldn’t have been possible months ago, years ago. To be able to just know I can physically go out on the court and play with this type of stamina, this endurance, it means so much to me,” Collins said.

For her effort, Collins takes home the grand prize of $67,570 out of the total prize money of $565,530.

The team of Croatia’s Daria Jurak and Slovenia’s Andreja Klepac defeated the Brazilian-Canadian team of Luisa Stefani and Gabriela Dubrowski in straight sets 6-1 7-5 to capture the doubles championship earlier in the afternoon.

The Balkan duo dominated the first sets only losing one game to Stefani and Dubrowski. They had a first serve percentage of 73.3% and 10 out of 11 first serve points to cruise to the open set win.

“We were really hungry to win this tournament,” said Klepac. “Hungry to win the finals. I am happy with our performance.”

In the second set, Stefani and Dubrowski went up 5-4 and were on the verge of forcing the deciding tiebreaker third set. However, Jurak and Klepac broke serve and were able to finish off their opponents winning the last three games of the match and collect their trophies.

“Andeja (Klepac) was saying keep on going,” said Jurak. “Believe it can turn around. We can break them (on serve) again and that’s exactly what happened. We believed we could win even when we have some of the hiccups. I mean you’re human beings, it can happen.”

Jurak and Klepac compared their on court relationship to a husband and wife, when explaining how well their chemistry works.

“Well we’ve spent a lot of time together. “And I’m very demanding person. I want it too badly sometimes. She (Klepac) knows how to deal with it. That’s a huge deal for me. It’s like a marriage. When the woman says to the man, ‘ok shut up now I now understand!’. You know, she’s doing this to me. That’s how it goes (when you’re playing) in doubles,” Jurak said.

The team takes home $25,230 for winning the championship.

The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic returns next year to the San Jose State University Tennis Complex in 2022 from August 1st-7th.

Collins storms her way into the MSVC finals in straight sets to highlight semifinals action


by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE—Danielle Collins is on a mission.

The number seventh only needed 52 minutes to dispose of Croatia’s Ana Konjuh in a straight sets victory 6-0 6-2 on Saturday evening at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at the San Jose State University Tennis Complex.

This will be Collins’ second final this season as she won the Palermo Open last month. Collins will be seeking her second straight championship and second of her career when she takes to the court on Sunday afternoon.

Collins, who won the first nine games and the last four of the match, had her serve working well for her with a 70% first serve percentage. What was even more impressive was her winning 16 out of 17 second return points.

“I think that’s one of the strengths in my game, said the 27-year native of St. Petersburg, Florida. “I usually have a pretty descent percentage of points won on their second serve because of how aggressive I play. So I try to use that as one of my weapons. I try to be relentless about it.”

On the opposite end, nothing went well for Konjuh who struggled with her first serve and return game, having six double faults and only winning 30% of her total points.

The 25-year old Croatian had an impressive run at the tournament. Konjuh came in as a wild card having to earn her way through the qualifying round. She won five of the six matches, the most played by any player this week, she participated in and said she will take away the positives she earn during her time in San Jose.

“For sure it was a good week for me,” said Konjuh. “I came here as a qualifier and didn’t expect much. I secured my place in the top 100 at the end of year, so I did what I came here to do. It’s a boost of confidence for me to do well even though I haven’t been playing that well “

In the other semifinal, number four seeded Daria Kasatkina cruised her way into the final after a straight sets victory over top seed Elise Mertens 6-3 6-2.

Kasatkina played with poise and patience throughout the match. She had timely returns that had Mertens guessing wrong on a few occasions. She broke serve twice in the second set and finished off the match winning the final three games in a row.

“During the game I’m studying the play,” said Kasatkina. “Whether I have to go for the big shot or to put more pressure that is what I will do. If I see my opponent is tense, I will play it accordingly. Every thing depends on a certain moment, also what the score is as well. And that is how I’ve played since I was a kid.”

Kasatkina utilized her serve during the match. She finished with four aces, a first serve percentage of 76.9% and won 82.5% of her first serve points.

Mertens struggle with her serve during both sets. She finished with seven double faults and only had a first serve percentage of 52.8%. Frustration grew for the 25-year native of Leuven, Belgium as her return game suffered, having only won seven out of 40 (17.5%) first return points.

“I felt like my legs were a little bit heavier (today),” said Mertens. “The energy was a little bit lower, I had a tough one (match) yesterday. She (Kasatkina) was hitting her spots. Her serve was doing well. I really wanted to win this one too but I couldn’t change it around.”

The Balkan team of Daria Jurak and Andreja Klepac defeated the American duo of Cathy McNally and Coco Vandeweghe in the first semifinal in straight sets 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6) as both sets went to a tiebreaker.

Klepac and Durak jumped ahead in each set only to have McNally and Vandeweghe rally back each time to force the tiebreaker. In the first tiebreaker the Croatian-Slovenian team of Klepac and Durak easily handed the Americans winning the first tiebreaker 7-2. Then in the second tiebreaker the teams went back and forth, each scoring four unanswered points. Klepac-Durak finished the match winning the final two point to punch their ticket to the final on Sunday.

Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani defeated Ellen Perez and Kveta Pesche in a three-sets victory 6-3 4-6 10-8 to secure the final spot in the doubles finals.

Singles Finals matchup:

Daria Kasatkina vs Danielle Collins at 4:00pm.