Two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka says it is "bizarre" that fans need to be vaccinated to attend the US Open but not the players.

The 2021 US Open marks the first tennis tournament where fans must show their proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend matches inside the Flushing Meadows venue. The decision was made less than 72 hours prior to the first matches at the US Open.

Azarenka, who defeated Italian Jasmine Paolini 6-3 7-6 (7-1) in the second round on Wednesday, said there was a double standard applied for fans compared to players who are not required to be vaccinated to play.

"I want to start this conversation between our players, because to me that's a bit bizarre that fans have to be vaccinated and players are not," three-time US Open finalist Azarenka told reporters.

"I think it's inevitable that it will be mandated at some point, like other leagues are doing.

"I don't see the point of stalling it, because I think we all want to be safe, we all want to continue doing our jobs, and I know there is a lot of discussions about it."

She added: "I hope that as an association we make the best decision for our business, for our health, for the tournaments and for the public."

On Saturday, Briton Andy Murray voiced his opinion that players need to be vaccinated, saying it is their responsibility as they travel the world to play.

Numerous top players including Novak Djokovic, Stefano Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev have previously spoken about their concerns about getting vaccinated.

Medvedev would not be drawn on Azarenka's comments after he defeated Dominik Koepfer 6-4 6-1 6-2 in the second round on Wednesday.

"Tough to answer this question," Medvedev told reporters. "I think everybody can have his own opinion.

"I understand why they did it to the fans. So far it has not been applied to the players. We as players, we can just follow the guidelines and the rules. That's all we can do.

"I think it's not for players to decide, because that's why we have governing bodies in tennis."

Two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka says it is "bizarre" that fans need to be vaccinated to attend the US Open but not the players.

The 2021 US Open marks the first tennis tournament where fans must show their proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend matches inside the Flushing Meadows venue. The decision was made less than 72 hours prior to the first matches at the US Open.

Azarenka, who defeated Italian Jasmine Paolini 6-3 7-6 (7-1) in the second round on Wednesday, said there was a double standard applied for fans compared to players who are not required to be vaccinated to play.

"I want to start this conversation between our players, because to me that's a bit bizarre that fans have to be vaccinated and players are not," three-time US Open finalist Azarenka told reporters.

"I think it's inevitable that it will be mandated at some point, like other leagues are doing.

"I don't see the point of stalling it, because I think we all want to be safe, we all want to continue doing our jobs, and I know there is a lot of discussions about it."

She added: "I hope that as an association we make the best decision for our business, for our health, for the tournaments and for the public."

On Saturday, Briton Andy Murray voiced his opinion that players need to be vaccinated, saying it is their responsibility as they travel the world to play.

Numerous top players including Novak Djokovic, Stefano Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev have previously spoken about their concerns about getting vaccinated.

Medvedev would not be drawn on Azarenka's comments after he defeated Dominik Koepfer 6-4 6-1 6-2 in the second round on Wednesday.

"Tough to answer this question," Medvedev told reporters. "I think everybody can have his own opinion.

"I understand why they did it to the fans. So far it has not been applied to the players. We as players, we can just follow the guidelines and the rules. That's all we can do.

"I think it's not for players to decide, because that's why we have governing bodies in tennis."

Simona Halep, a three-time runner up in Cincinnati, claimed her first win since May by overcoming Magda Linette 6-4 3-6 6-0.

The 12th seed has just returned from a calf muscle tear which saw her miss the French Open and Wimbledon, and was defeated by Danielle Collins in Montreal last week.

However, at 1-4 down in the second set she required medical attention for what she described as a "sharp pain" in her right leg, but after a rain delay, the Romanian came out of the blocks to claim a third-set bagel.

Halep progressed to the Round of 32 where she will play American Jessica Pegula.

Sunday's breakthrough National Bank Open winner Camila Giorgo was beaten in straight sets by Pegula 6-2 6-2.

Former world number one Victoria Azarenka needed only one hour and nine minutes to dispose of Ludmilla Samsonova and seal her spot in the last 32.

The Belarussian triumphed 6-2 6-3 over the Russian, dominating her first serve and breaking Samsonova five times throughout the match.

Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Belinda Bencic eased past Marketa Vondrousova 6-3 7-5 continuing her bright recent run, winning in one hour and 27 minutes.

In the final match of the day's play, Caroline Garcia defeated 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens 7-6 (9-7) 4-6 6-4 in two hours and 33 minutes.

Dayana Yastremska, Bernarda Pera, Karolina Muchova, Ons Jabeur, Elena Rybakina, Veronika Kudermetova and Coco Gauff were all winners too.

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka and fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova set up a tantalising semi-final clash with straight-set wins Friday at the National Bank Open. 

Sabalenka had little trouble with fellow Belarusian Victoria Azarenka in a 6-2 6-4 victory in Montreal, firing seven aces and winning 74.3 per cent of points on her first serve. 

It was Sabalenka's 38th win this season, the most of any WTA player. Another triumph on Saturday would vault world number three Sabalenka past Naomi Osaka and into second in the rankings next week. 

To achieve that, she will have to defeat the only other seeded player remaining in Pliskova as the two stage a rematch of their Wimbledon semi-final won by the Czech.

The world number six downed Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 6-4 6-0 to reach the semis for the first time in six trips to the Canadian tournament. 

While Pliskova twice failed to hold her serve in the opening set, she converted all three of her own break point chances before going on to dominate the second set. 

The other semi-final will feature a pair of unseeded players. 

Italy's Camila Giorgi continued her run of upsets in the tournament, knocking out 15th seed Coco Gauff 6-4 7-6 (7-2). 

In the last quarter-final of the day, Jessica Pegula took down 13th seed Ons Jabeur 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 in a match of wild momentum swings. 

Pegula went the distance for the fourth consecutive match in Montreal, though at one hour, 28 minutes Friday's affair was a full hour shorter than her round of 16 epic with Danielle Collins. 

 

Local hope and reigning champion Bianca Andreescu blew an early lead as she was toppled by Ons Jabeur in the Round of 16 at the National Bank Open in Montreal.

Tunisian 13th seed Jabeur defeated the Canadian second seed 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-1 in two hours and 39 minutes on Thursday.

The come-from-behind triumph was the second time in two matches that the Tunisian has rallied from a set down to win after beating Daria Kasatkina in three.

Jabeur had twice been a break up in the opening set before Andreescu claimed it in an tiebreak.

The 26-year-old Tunisian, who made the Wimbledon quarter-finals this year, responded by breaking at 5-4 to win the second set.

After Andreescu had an injury scare after landing awkwardly on her left foot late in the second set, Jabeur dominated the third, finishing by winning eight of the final nine games.

Jabeur finished with 9-3 aces and was more effective on serve, going at an 81.6 win percentage on her first serve (40 from 49 points).

The lower side of the draw has opened up for the Tunisian who will face Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals after the unseeded American defeated countrywoman Danielle Collins 6-4 3-6 7-5.

Two-time Wimbledon champion and seventh seed Petra Kvitova was knocked out in a shock by Italian Camila Giorgi in straight sets.

Giorgi, ranked 71st in the world, won 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 36 minutes and will face Cori Gauff in the quarter-finals after she had another walkover against Johanna Konta.

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka had no such problems, cruising past Canadian Rebecca Marino 6-1 6-3 inside an hour.

Sabalenka sets up a quarter-final clash with fellow Belarussian and two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka.

Azarenka got past Greek 11th seed Maria Sakkari in three sets, 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-2).

Fourth seed Karolina Pliskova got past Amanda Anisimova 6-1 7-6 (10-8) and will play Sara Sorribes Tormo in the last eight after she won in three sets over Katerina Siniakova.

Crowd favourite Bianca Andreescu was made to work as she opened her defence of the National Bank Open title she won two years ago but the Canadian eventually prevailed in Montreal. 

Andreescu defeated Harriet Dart 6-1 3-6 6-3 in just over two hours in her first match since falling to Alize Cornet in the opening around at Wimbledon. 

That was the latest in a disappointing string of results for Andreescu, who also departed Roland Garros after one match, but the world number eight got back on track Tuesday. 

"Playing at home is so, so awesome," Andreescu said in her on-court interview. "You guys [the fans] show me so much love, especially tonight. I've never had this kind of support before, so I'm so, so grateful."

While Andreescu was able to navigate a challenging opener, three other seeded players were not as fortunate. 

Katerina Siniakova downed fifth seed Garbine Muguruza 6-2 0-6 6-3, while Camila Giorgi ousted ninth seed Elise Mertens 6-3 7-5 and Liudmila Samsonova defeated 12th seed Elena Rybakina 6-4 5-7 6-4.

Having a better time of it were seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova, the 2012 tournament champion, and number 10 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who won by identical 6-4 6-4 scorelines against Frenchwomen Fiona Ferro and Carolina Garcia, respectively. 

Eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka waited out a rain delay to cruise past 2013 finalist Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-2 in the final match of the day. 

In other action, 15th seed Coco Gauff handled Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 6-4 while her countrywoman Danielle Collins continued rolling after her title in San Jose last week, rallying past Jil Teichmann 4-6 6-1 6-3 for her 11th consecutive match win. 

Two more Americans, Sloane Stephens and Jessica Pegula, prevailed in three sets as well. 

Johanna Konta returned to the court after missing Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics due to coronavirus-related issues and advanced when Zhang Shuai was forced to retire up 6-4 2-5 with a leg injury. 

Camila Giorgi extended her strong run at the Viking International in Eastbourne as she dumped out top seed Aryna Sabalenka on Thursday.

The Italian had already beaten defending champion Karolina Pliskova en route to the last eight and pulled off another upset as she claimed a 7-6 (7-5) 0-6 6-4 win over Sabalenka.

Giorgi's bid for the third WTA Tour title of her career will now continue with a semi-final against Anett Kontaveit on Friday.

The Estonian also needed three sets to book her place, bouncing back from losing the opener to beat Viktorija Golubic 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-5.

Daria Kasatkina was unable to build on her win over fourth seed Iga Swiatek in the last round as she missed out on a spot in the semi-finals.

The Russian took the first set against Jelena Ostapenko but failed to build on that success as the Latvian ran out a 1-6 7-5 6-2 winner.

In the final match of the day, Anastasija Sevastova was beaten by Elena Rybakina, who had earned her place in the quarters by beating second seed Elina Svitolina the day before.

World number 61 Sevastova, who eliminated Coco Gauff, won the first set 6-2, but Rybakina fought back to claim the next two 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-5).

Rainy conditions ensured there was no play at this week's other WTA event held in Bad Homburg, Germany, though one player was able to secure passage to the semi-finals.

Sara Sorribes Tormo claimed her place in the next round after Victoria Azarenka, her scheduled opponent, pulled out due to injury.

Second seed Elina Svitolina crashed out of the Viking International in Eastbourne at the last-16 stage on Wednesday with a straight sets defeat to Elena Rybakina.

The world number five lost 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to 21st-ranked Rybakina, whose reward is a meeting with Coco Gauff's conqueror Anastasija Sevastova in the quarter-finals.

Third seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada also lost in straight sets, Anett Kontaveit of Estonia beating her 6-3 6-3.

And it was the same story for fourth seed Iga Swiatek, though she at least took a set as she was beaten by Daria Kasatkina.

It took an impressive rally from Russia's Kasatkina to bounce back from losing the first en route to a 4-6 6-0 6-1 success.

She will now face Jelena Ostapenko, who beat Ons Jabeur 5-7 6-4 6-3.

In fact, top seed Aryna Sabalenka was the only seed to avoid a surprise exit on Wednesday as she cruised through.

The Belarussian, ranked fourth in the world, beat Alison Riske 6-1 6-4 in just over an hour to set up a clash with Camila Giorgi.

Giorgi had earlier followed up a win over defending champion Karolina Pliskova in the last round by beating Shelby Rogers 6-3 4-6 6-2.

There was no such string of shocks at Wednesday's other WTA event, the Bad Homburg Open in Germany, though first and second seeds Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka needed three sets to progress.

Kvitova lost a second-set tie-break as she beat Ann Li 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 to reach the quarters, while Azarenka defeated Alize Cornet 6-4 3-6 7-6 (9-7).

Angelique Kerber, the fourth seed, progressed more smoothly, earning a comfortable 6-0 6-2 win over Russia's Anna Blinkova.

And Nadia Podoroska saw off the challenge of Patricia Maria Tig, winning 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-4.

Coco Gauff lost the first set in 20 minutes but roared back to stun seventh seed Elise Mertens – as Iga Swiatek also staged a comeback at the Viking International in Eastbourne.

Playing late in the day, Gauff was picked apart by Mertens to begin with, and also trailed by a break in the second set, but the 17-year-old American rising star pulled off a 0-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 first-round win.

Seeds Elina Svitolina, Bianca Andreescu and Swiatek all came through three-set matches on a busy day, but Karolina Pliskova was not so fortunate in her opener.

Winner of the grass-court event in 2017 and 2019, Pliskova arrived as the defending champion after last year's edition was cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, her hopes of a repeat triumph came to an early end, beaten in three sets by qualifier Camila Giorgi.

The fifth seed was in charge initially against an opponent she had prevailed against in five of their six previous meetings, yet Giorgi produced an impressive response having fallen behind – aided by a strong service performance – to win 2-6 6-2 6-2.

Svitolina, the second seed, had lost in her previous two appearances in the main draw, and it appeared history could be repeated when Paula Badosa claimed the opening set against her.

Yet the second seed recovered to level, then dominated the tie-break in the decider to triumph 4-6 6-1 7-6 (7-1) and set up a second-round meeting with Elena Rybakina, who edged out wildcard Harriet Dart in three sets.

Andreescu, meanwhile, recorded her maiden win on grass in the main draw of a WTA tournament. The Canadian was made to work for it by Christina McHale, eventually coming out on top by a 6-4 2-6 6-2 scoreline.

Swiatek eventually saw off the challenge of Heather Watson after two hours and 42 minutes on court, a 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 triumph making sure of a place in the last 16. Watson led 4-1 and 40-0 in the decider but could not finish off last year's French Open champion.

This year's Roland Garros runner-up, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, meanwhile, was beaten 6-1 6-3 by Jelena Ostapenko.

At the Bad Homburg Open, second seed Victoria Azarenka defeated fellow Belarusian Yuliya Hatouka 7-5 6-0 to reach the last 16.

Jessica Pegula bowed out, though, as the American – seeded third – went down in a three-set tussle against Katerina Siniakova.

Qualifier Liudmila Samsonova continued what she described as an "unbelievable" run by upsetting Victoria Azarenka to seal a place in the bett1open final in Berlin.  

The world number 106 reached her first career final by beating two-time major champion Azarenka 6-4 6-2, having impressively seen off Madison Keys in the last eight.

It took just 66 minutes for Samsonova to win as she put on a powerful display of hitting on Saturday, firing down 11 aces.

The 22-year-old did not lose serve in the match and is the first qualifier to reach a WTA 500 final this season.

"It's all incredible for me, it's so new, and I'm very happy for it," Samsonova said amid a week that will give her a rankings surge.

"It’s unbelievable for me. It is the most important [week] of my life up to this moment. 

"I'm sure it’s going to be a tough match because [Bencic] plays very good on this surface, and she's a good player. I will try to do my best and focus on my game, and we will see."

Fifth seed Bencic battled to a 7-5 6-4 victory over Alize Cornet in her last-four clash and will go into the final as favourite.

While the win came in straight sets, it was a hard-fought encounter, with Bencic winning all four of her break points while Cornet forced 10 but only converted two, which proved to be the difference.

Bencic, who will be encouraged ahead of Wimbledon, has now made four grass-court finals in her career and will seek her first WTA Tour title since October 2019 on Sunday.

The Swiss star, who had 29 winners and just 19 unforced errors against Cornet, lost to Iga Swiatek in Adelaide earlier this year in her only final appearance since that last title.

"I always try to play as many tournaments on grass as possible because I just love the surface," Bencic said.

"Of course it gives me a lot of confidence. It's always great to have this confirmation on grass that it is working well."

Belinda Bencic let anger fuel her progress to the semi-finals of the bett1open in Berlin on Friday.

Bencic – the fifth seed – needed a third-set tie-break to see off Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7-4).

The Swiss will face Alize Cornet at Steffi Graff Stadion in Saturday's semi-final, after the latter upset two-time grand slam winner and world number 13 Garbine Muguruza – similarly going the distance to prevail 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-5) and saving match point at 5-4 in the tie-break.

Bencic had lost two of her previous three encounters with Alexandrova and conceded to having problems with her opponent's playing style after a fired-up performance at the WTA 500 event.

"I have to get mad," she said. "When I'm mad, I play better, I'm just hitting the ball. So I'm trying to get mad on court."

"I definitely don't like playing her," said Bencic afterwards. "There's not so much rhythm, she's very aggressive player, it's tough to stay in the rally. I would say I'm more relieved [to reach the semi-finals].

The other semi-final pits two-time slam champion Victoria Azarenka against qualifier Liudmila Samsonova.

Former world number one Azarenka battled to see off Karolina Pliskova's conqueror Jessica Pegula 6-2 5-7 6-4, gaining a measure of revenge over a player who dumped her out in the first round of the Australian Open this year.

Samsonova stunned Madison Keys, with a deciding tie-break again required, albeit one that was emphatically dealt with as the world number 106 won 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 7-6 (7-0).

Jessica Pegula got the better of Karolina Pliskova once again as she knocked the fourth seed out of the bett1open on Thursday.

The American beat the former world number one 7-5 6-2 in Berlin, setting up a quarter-final clash with Victoria Azarenka.

It is the fourth time this season Pegula has defeated Pliskova.

Azarenka was also a straight-sets winner, overcoming Angelique Kerber in a battling 6-3 7-5 victory.

The two-time Australian Open champion was 4-1 down in the second set but roared back to prevail over Kerber for the 10th time in 11 matches.

Garbine Muguruza enjoyed a 6-4 6-3 victory over Elena Rybakina and will take on Alize Cornet next, while Ludmilla Samsonova downed Veronika Kudermetova by the same scoreline and will now face Madison Keys.

Garbine Muguruza, Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber all sailed through at the bett1 Open on Tuesday as eighth seed Karolina Muchova crashed out in the first round.

The three former world number ones each made relatively light work of their opening clashes in Berlin, with Muguruza seeing off Sorana Cirstea 6-3 6-2.

Muguruza, the 2017 Wimbledon champion, expressed satisfaction with her performance on a return to the grass courts, with that part of the season wiped out in 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Very pleased," Muguruza said on court after going 24-8 on the season.

"You never know how it's going to go in the first match, especially on grass after two years, so I'm very excited to win in two sets against Sorana.

"We've played many times, and it's always difficult."

She will next face Elena Rybakina who, after beating Serena Williams en route to the French Open quarter-finals, came from a set down to see off Shelby Rogers.

Azarenka was a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) winner over Andrea Petkovic, and the two-time Australian Open champion will now face Kerber for a place in the last eight.

Kerber routed Misaki Doi 6-2 6-1 in a match that lasted only an hour but has lost nine of her previous 10 meetings with Azarenka.

The 2018 Wimbledon champion said: "I will try to play my game, and try to take another chance, and play as many matches as I can before I go to Wimbledon.

"It's another good match at a high level, and this is why I'm here. The draw is really strong, so it's good to have another good match."

Muchova, though, fell at the first hurdle. The Czech suffered an upset in the third round of the French Open at the hands of Sloane Stephens and lost in three sets in the German capital to Veronika Kudermetova after two hours and 27 minutes.

Elsewhere in the draw, there were wins for Petra Martic, Liudmila Samsonova and Jessica Pegula, whose opponent Hailey Baptiste retired in the first set.

Page 1 of 3
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.