WTA

Golubic to face Paolini in L'Open 35 de Saint-Malo final

By Sports Desk May 08, 2021

Viktorija Golubic will take on Jasmine Paolini in the L'Open 35 de Saint-Malo final after both players won their semi-final contests in straight sets on Saturday.

Italian Paolini won 6-3 6-1 against Varvara Gracheva, who was unable to follow up her impressive quarter-final triumph over second seed Rebecca Peterson.

Golubic meanwhile, is the highest-ranked player remaining and the fifth seed eventually prevailed against Harmony Tan.

In a tough contest, Golubic won 7-6 (7-4) 6-3, continuing a strong run of form that also saw her reach WTA finals in Lyon and Monterrey last month.

Related items

  • Tokyo Olympics Recap: Pressure is there even if crowds are not Tokyo Olympics Recap: Pressure is there even if crowds are not

    Nina Christen of Switzerland finished 16th in the 10-metre air rifle at the Rio Olympics, but she became a footnote to history five years later as the first athlete to secure a medal at Tokyo 2020.

    The 27-year-old locked up the bronze medal several minutes before China's Yang Qian beat Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Olympic Committee to take gold in the first medal event of the Games.

    As soon as she was eliminated from contention for the final two, Christen flashed a smile and waved, knowing she had at least won a spot on the podium this time – no small feat on this stage.

    After the first medal ceremony of the Tokyo Games, she spoke about the pressure as the competition entered the final rounds.

    "You just try to not reach your head out for the medal before you have the medal," Christen said. "That is the worst thing you could do. Having in your mind, 'Oh I could win a medal, or I could be eighth which would be a failure'.

    "So you just try not to think about both of them, you just try and think about what your job is like breathing, holding, aiming, balance, triggering, and then follow through.

    "It helps to not think about what is behind you and obviously there are a lot of cameras and a lot of people. And it would be even more if COVID would not have hit. So yeah that is the thing you have to do, otherwise you would just crack."

     

    Sixth seed Swiatek rolls in tennis opener

    Two seeded players enjoyed easy victories in the women's singles draw as play began at the Ariake Tennis Park.

    Sixth-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland, the 2020 French Open champion, cruised past Germany's Mona Barthel 6-2 6-2 to open her first Olympics.

    Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 11th seed representing the Russian Olympic Committee, had an even easier time in a 6-0 6-1 rout of Italy's Sara Errani.

    Pavlyuchenkova will face Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam, who upset Great Britain's Heather Watson 7-6 6-3 in another early match.

    In doubles, there was an eye-catching result for Britain's Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury, who took out French second seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, scoring a 6-3 6-2 victory.

     

    Men's gymnastics gets under way

    Nikita Nagornyy turned in the strongest showing in the opening group as men's gymnastics got under way.

    Nagornyy, who won the all-around at the 2019 World Championships and was part of Russia's silver medal-winning team at Rio 2016, posted an 87.897 to lead subdivision one, which included gymnasts from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), China, Ukraine and Spain along with individuals from other nations.

    But his showing was not enough to put the Russians on top, as China earned the top score in the group with a 262.061 to the ROC's 261.945. The top eight ranked teams qualify for the team final, with two subdivisions still to compete Saturday.

    "I don't think our team was really good today, but we made our best effort," Nagronyy said. "We have a lot to do."

     

    Brazilians start strongly on the beach

    Brazil's two returning beach volleyball medallists are off to a strong start five years later.

    Alison Cerutti won gold in Rio and is teamed with new partner Alvaro Morais Filho for Tokyo. They won their opening match 2-0 against Argentina's Nicolas Capogrosso and Julian Amado Azaad.

    On the women's side, Rio silver medallist Agatha Bednarczuk, also with a new partner in Eduarda Santos Lisboa, won by the same score against Ana Gallay and Fernanda Pereyra of Argentina.

    While she was happy to advance, Agatha found the difference between Rio's raucous crowds and Tokyo's COVID-driven quiet jarring.

    "It's so different. In Brazil we have the biggest support there. Many, many people cheering for us, and here, it's silence," she said.

    "Here we need to put our emotion (aside) because we don't receive the emotion from the people. For me, this is very important because I like to play with emotions."

  • Gaston saves four match points to reach Gstaad semis with top seed Ruud Gaston saves four match points to reach Gstaad semis with top seed Ruud

    Hugo Gaston showed admirable spirit as the young Frenchman saved four match points in a gripping tie-break against Cristian Garin en route to reaching his first ATP Tour semi-final.

    Garin, the fourth seed, responded impressively to going a set down and then got to match point four times in their third-set tie-break, but he could not hold his nerve and Gaston got the job done 6-4 1-6 7-6 (13-11).

    The Chilean was on the back foot right from the start Gaston broke him in the first game, and although Garin did hit back to make it 3-3, his opponent quickly had the advantage again and went on to seal the first set.

    Garin's response was emphatic and clinical, dropping just three points on his serve and taking both of the break points that came his way to level the match.

    The pair could not be separated in a back-and-forth third set, but Garin was the first to get match point at 6-5 in the tie-break – they would trade another six equally between them before Gaston finally prevailed at 13-11, leaving the 20-year-old satisfied.

    "I am very happy to be in my first [ATP Tour] semi-final," Gaston said after.

    "It was a great fight. It was a really long match. I always tried to play my game, and it is a good win for me. I hope I can continue like that."

    Up next for Gaston will be Laslo Djere after he saw off Arthur Rinderknech 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4, while Casper Ruud – the highest seed remaining – is also into the final four.

    The Norwegian was victorious at the Swedish Open last week, his second title of the year, and dispatched Benoit Paire on Friday to reach another semi.

    Ruud won 6-2 5-7 6-3 in just under two hours and will face Vit Kopriva, a qualifier, who secured his first semi-final appearance thanks to a stunning 6-1 6-0 win over Mikael Ymer.

    At the Croatia Open in Umag, top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas cruised into the last four with a straightforward 6-2 6-1 defeat of Stefano Travaglia, setting up a meeting with either Filip Krajinovic or Carlos Alcaraz.

    The other semi will be contested between Richard Gasquet and Daniel Altmaier, who produced something of a shock by ousting second seed Dusan Lajovic 6-2 6-4.

    The veteran Frenchman came through against Damir Dzumhur 6-3 7-6 (9-7), clinching the second set at the fourth opportunity.

  • Tokyo Olympics: What to look out for on Saturday Tokyo Olympics: What to look out for on Saturday

    The men's road cycling race is a standout event as dreams will turn into a reality a year later than athletes might have hoped for at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.

    After Naomi Osaka lit the cauldron at the opening ceremony on Friday, Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar will be striving to light up the opening day of competition.

    Pogacar goes for gold less than a week after the Slovenian sensation retained his Tour title in Paris and it will be an incredible achievement if he is on top of the podium again.

    There will also be archery, judo, shooting, taekwondo and weightlifting titles up for grabs on the first day of the Games 12 months after they were due to be contested.

    Stats Perform pick out what to look out for on Saturday.

     

    POGACAR FACES ANOTHER HUGE STAMINA TEST

    Pogacar dominated the Tour de France and is the favourite to follow that up with Olympic gold in what promises to be a thrilling road race.

    His compatriot Primoz Roglic is another strong contender for gold, while Canada's Michael Woods and Spaniard Alejandro Valverde will start the race with high hopes of securing a medal.

    Belgian duo Remco Evenepoel and Wout van Aert are also expected to be in the mix.

    The 234-kilometre course starts at Musashinonomori Park and finishes at the Fuji International Speedway and features five big ascents, including one on Mount Fuji.

     

    HIGH HOPES FOR JAPANESE JUDOKAS

    There will be no spectators to provide support, but that is not expected to stop Japanese judokas from setting the standard once again.

    The host nation has 39 gold, 19 silver and 26 bronze medals in judo, making it the only sport the country tops the all-time Olympic medal table in.

    Naoki Ogata, technical operations manager with the International Judo Federation, is setting the bar high with his expectations on home soil.

    "No doubt, we want a gold medal in all weight categories," said Ogata.

     

    DJOKOVIC IN HUNT FOR GOLDEN SLAM

    Novak Djokovic has already won three of the four majors this year and an Olympic title would leave him heading to the US Open knowing victory would complete the Golden Slam.

    The world number one from Serbia plays Hugo Dellien of Bolivia when the men's singles starts on Saturday, while Poland's Iga Swiatek is among the standout players in action in the women's singles - which she begins against Mona Barthel.

    There is also women's and men's doubles action on Saturday. 

    The pick of the other events to be getting under way will be artistic gymnastics, badminton, swimming, boxing, hockey and rowing.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.