Pliskova through against Jang in Nanchang

Kristyna Pliskova (Getty)
Abstract: 
Kristyna Pliskova battled through against Su Jeong Jang in Nanchang.

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Pliskova through against Jang in Nanchang

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Kristyna Pliskova (Getty)
Kristyna Pliskova (Getty)

NANCHANG, China - Kristyna Pliskova was made to work hard to progress to the round of 16 at the Jiangxi Open, beating Su Jeong Jang 6-3, 7-6(4).

Pliskova, twin sister of World No.1 Karolina, is making her debut at the tournament - and next faces Nao Hibino.

The Czech was strong on her own service game, and broke Jang in the final game of the first set to take it 6-3.

And the No.3 seed broke at the first opportunity in the second set, using her backhand to good effect to move ahead.

Jang saved three match points to level things up at five games apiece, and took the second set to a tie-break before Pliskova finally secured her win.

"I think I played quite good in the first set, but the second set was quite tough for me," said Pliskova afterwards.

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07/26/2017 - 10:00
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2017 Nanchang
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Bouchard inspired by Agassi training sessions

Eugenie Bouchard (Getty)
Abstract: 
Eugenie Bouchard is raring to go after spending time on court with men's former World No.1 Andre Agassi.

Title

Bouchard inspired by Agassi training sessions

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Eugenie Bouchard (Getty)
Eugenie Bouchard (Getty)

Eugenie Bouchard says she has been inspired by training with Andre Agassi as she looks to improve her fitness and form.

She spent some time on court with the former men's World No.1 in Las Vegas prior to playing an exhibition match against Venus Williams in Atlanta.

"I was out in Vegas and I was very lucky and grateful and honored to have him on the court with me, and get a bit of insight in his brain, he's so smart about tennis," she told Sportsnet.

The World No.69 added that Agassi's career path also gives her motivation to rise back up the rankings.

"[Him] falling so low in the rankings and then coming back up to [World] No.1 - I just think that is so impressive," she said. "There are some similarities to me - I was at a higher ranking than I am now, and have dropped.

"It gives you inspiration, that you can do it. If you have it in you and you do the work, you can still perform at that level and come back."

And Bouchard is certainly putting the hours in to improve her form and her place in the rankings, having lost in the first round of all her grass-court tournaments in 2017.

"Since Wimbledon I've been working a lot in the gym and on the court as well," she said. "I'm hoping to take some small steps in the right direction with these next tournaments coming up."

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07/26/2017 - 08:45
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How Mirza's trajectory was nearly head-first

Sania Mirza as the WTA Year-End World No.1 (Getty)
Abstract: 
What did Sania Mirza want to do before she became a tennis star?

Title

How Mirza's trajectory was nearly head-first

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Sania Mirza as the WTA Year-End World No.1 (Getty)
Sania Mirza (Getty)

What would Sania Mirza have done as a career had she not become one of the world's best tennis players?

In an exclusive Facebook Live alongside her friend and Bollywood star Neha Dhupia, she revealed the surprising answer.

"Believe it or not - this might come as a shock to everybody - I wanted to be a psychologist," she said. "I even studied a little bit of it. But I stopped, I didn't graduate."

Dhupia talked about her own sporting ambitions, saying: "I always wanted to be an athlete, never could be. I'd have liked to have been a runner."

The pair had earlier led a tennis clinic at Mirza's academy in Hyderabad as part of the WTA Future Stars programme.

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07/26/2017 - 08:15
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Bastad: Wednesday's Order of Play

Caroline Garcia - Roland Garros (©Getty Images)
Abstract: 
Second seed Anastasija Sevastova and third seed Caroline Garcia are in action at the Ericsson Open.

Title

Bastad: Wednesday's Order of Play

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Caroline Garcia - Roland Garros (©Getty Images)
Caroline Garcia (Getty)

CENTRE COURT
Play starts at 11am

Katerina SINIAKOVA (CZE) [7] v [Q] Arantxa RUS (NED)

Not before 12 noon

Maria IRIGOYEN (ARG) / Barbora KREJCIKOVA (CZE) [4] v Mona BARTHEL (GER) / Johanna LARSSON (SWE)

[WC] Elizaveta KULICHKOVA (RUS) v Anastasija SEVASTOVA (LAT) [2]

Sara ERRANI (ITA) v Caroline GARCIA (FRA) [3]

COURT 1
Play starts at 11am

Cornelia LISTER (SWE) / Aleksandrina NAYDENOVA (BUL) v [WC] Jacqueline CABAJ AWAD (SWE) / Kajsa RINALDO PERSSON (SWE)

Aleksandra KRUNIC (SRB) v [LL] Viktoriya TOMOVA (BUL)

[Alt] Ellen ALLGURIN (SWE) / Karen BARRITZA (DEN) v [WC] Mirjam BJORKLUND (SWE) / Ida JARLSKOG (SWE)

Jessica MOORE (AUS) / Prarthana THOMBARE (IND) v Oksana KALASHNIKOVA (GEO) / Alicja ROSOLSKA (POL) [2]

COURT 2
Play starts not before 1pm

Quirine LEMOINE (NED) / Arantxa RUS (NED) v Elise MERTENS (BEL) / Demi SCHUURS (NED) [3]

Nicole MELICHAR (USA) / Anna SMITH (GBR) [1] v Xenia KNOLL (SUI) / Aleksandra KRUNIC (SRB)

MATCH FACTS

Sara Errani reached the quarterfinals here last year, where she lost to Katerina Siniakova 7-6, 6-3.

Siniakova made it to the final in 2016, but lost to Laura Siegemund 7-5, 6-1.

Siniakova has never played Arantxa Rus before; nor has Anastasija Sevastova played Elizaveta Kulichkova.

Caroline Garcia's only previous appearance at this tournament was in 2013, where she lost in the first round to Alexandra Dulgheru 7-6, 6-1.

 

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07/26/2017 - 06:15
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2017 Bastad
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Bucharest shots of the tournament

The best shots from an action packed week in Bucharest
Abstract: 
Which was your favorite?

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Bucharest shots of the tournament

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07/26/2017 - 04:26
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Sania Mirza holds court with India's Future Stars

Abstract: 
Sania Mirza and Bollywood star Neha Dhupia hosted children from the Freedom Again Foundation at the Sania Mirza Tennis Academy.

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Sania Mirza holds court with India's Future Stars

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07/25/2017 - 22:15
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Kiki Bertens revels over her win in Gstaad

Abstract: 
Kiki Berten won her second title of the season after being runner-up last year.

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Kiki Bertens revels over her win in Gstaad

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07/25/2017 - 20:33
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Stats Corner: Azarenka, Kvitova, Sharapova still in Singapore contention

Victoria Azarenka, Wimbledon, The Championships
Abstract: 
With the seven months of the season in the book, find out how several former WTA Finals stalwarts may yet rise up the Porsche Race to Singapore leaderboard and book their tickets to Singapore.

Title

Stats Corner: Azarenka, Kvitova, Sharapova still in Singapore contention

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Victoria Azarenka, Wimbledon, The Championships

We're less than 100 days out from the 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, and it's still anyone's game on the Porsche Race to Singapore leaderboard.

The North American summer hardcourt swing promises a slew of continued comebacks from former World No.1s Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, plus 2011 WTA Finals champion Petra Kvitova. Meanwhile, Angelique Kerber left The Championships at Wimbledon without the No.1 ranking she'd held for much of the season, but put together a strong performance to reach the second week and push eventual champion Garbiñe Muguruza to three sets.

To qualify for Singapore, each of these women will have to put in stellar performances over the next few weeks, particularly at the US Open, the final Grand Slam of the season, but also at the Premier 5 tournaments at the Rogers Cup, Western & Southern Open, and the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, and the final Premier Mandatory of the season at the China Open in Beijing.

YEAR

PLAYER

MOST POINTS AFTER WIMBLEDON

POINTS AHEAD OF WTA FINALS

PCT

2010

CAROLINE WOZNIACKI

4575

7518

.609

2011

SAMANTHA STOSUR

3127

5207

.601

2012

SERENA WILLIAMS

3380

7900

.428

2013

SERENA WILLIAMS

4800

12040

.399

2014

SERENA WILLIAMS

3936

7147

.551

2015

ROBERTA VINCI

2292

2852

.804

2016

ANGELIQUE KERBER

3250

8087

.402

Kerber led the field last year in points earned after Wimbledon, earning just over 40% of her 8087 total thanks to a run to the Rogers Cup semifinals, the Western & Southern Open final and her second Grand Slam title at the US Open.

In the last seven years, the woman to earn the most points after the season's third Grand Slam title qualified for the WTA Finals six times, the sole exception being surprise US Open runner-up Roberta Vinci in 2015.

KVITOVA

POINTS AFTER WIMBLEDON

POINTS AHEAD OF WTA FINALS

PCT

2010

1638

1684

.973

2011

2465

5871

.420

2012

4596

5392

.852

2013

2301

4851

.474

2014

4056

5599

.724

2015

1018

3493

.291

2016

2580

3653

.706

While all four women have proven to be adept on hardcourts, Kvitova has the most history behind her when it comes to this part of the season, earning 40% or more of her total points after Wimbledon in six of the last seven years.

The two-time Wimbledon champion tore through the second half of last season in particular, earning over 70% of her final 3653 total after winning the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open.

AZARENKA

POINTS AFTER WIMBLEDON

TOTAL POINTS BEFORE WTA FINALS

PCT

2010

1836

4067

.451

2011

1371

5873

.233

2012

3246

10191

.319

2013

2626

7676

.342

2014

676

1492

.453

2015

700

2276

.308

Azarenka is a two-time Australian Open champion, causing more of her points to have come at the start of her seasons in years past, despite finishing runner-up at two consecutive US Opens.

Still, the Belarusian has tended to rely on at least a third of her final point total to come after Wimbledon, which helped her qualify for the WTA Finals for five straight years between 2009 and 2013.

SHARAPOVA

POINTS AFTER WIMBLEDON

POINTS AHEAD OF WTA FINALS

PCT

2010

1301

2591

.502

2011

1530

6370

.240

2012

2295

9115

.252

2013

1

5891

.000

2014

1800

6680

.269

2015

1

4322

.000

Sharapova skipped the much of summer hardcourt swing in 2013 and 2015, and typically earning most of her points at the European clay tournaments. The Russian last reached the US Open final in 2006, when she beat Justine Henin for her second major title, and made the semifinals in 2012.

She has been especially successful in Beijing, where she made the final in 2012 - falling to Azarenka - and won the title in 2014 - beating Kvitova.

How will the Porsche Race to Singapore leaderboard look after the US Open? Stay tuned for the next few weeks of action in North America, starting at the Bank of the West Classic and Citi Open in Stanford and Washington, DC, respectively.

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07/25/2017 - 17:30
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2017 WTA Finals
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Bastad Shot of the day: Caroline Wozniacki finds a way through Parmentier's defense

Abstract: 
Carline Wozniacki passes through the first round of the Swedish Open in her win over Pauline Parmentier.

Title

Bastad Shot of the day: Caroline Wozniacki finds a way through Parmentier's defense

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07/25/2017 - 17:45
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Wozniacki supera el reto de Parmentier en Bastad

Caroline Wozniacki - Bastad (Ericsson Open)
Abstract: 
Caroline Wozniacki necesitó tres sets y casi dos horas para superar a Pauline Parmentier y avanzar a la segunda ronda en el Ericsson Open de Bastad.

Title

Wozniacki supera el reto de Parmentier en Bastad

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Caroline Wozniacki - Bastad (Ericsson Open)
caroline wozniacki

BASTAD, Suecia - Caroline Wozniacki necesitó tres sets y casi dos horas para superar a Pauline Parmentier y llegar a la segunda ronda en el Ericsson Open, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

Wozniacki, finalista aquí en 2009, tardó unos cuantos juegos para adaptarse a la tierra batida de Bastad, mientras que Parmentier venía de jugar los cuartos de final del BRD Bucarest Open de la semana pasada.

"Sin duda es muy diferente jugar en tierra batida después de la hierba, por lo que el partido fue un poco complicado", dijo Wozniacki después del partido.

"Obviamente, fue agradable jugar delante del público sueco y danés.  Te sientes un poco como en casa. Sentí el apoyo, que siempre es agradable".

Wozniacki se recuperó de un break temprano para ganar el primer set, pero se encontró con problemas en el segundo. Parmentier se recuperó de cinco juegos seguidos para acelerar más y enviar el partido a un set un set decisivo, donde la francesa comenzó con una ventaja de 2-0.

Pero no pudo seguir adelante cuando Wozniacki empezó a atacar, ganando los siguientes seis juegos seguidos para terminar el partido después de una hora y 52 minutos.

También en acción en el Ericsson Open, las  principales cabezas de serie no tuvieron problemas para pasar a la segunda ronda, mientras que Carla Suárez Navarro perdió sólo un juego para deshacerse de Jasmine Paolini 6-1 y 6-0,  la la cabeza de serie No. 6 Kiki Bertens anotó una victoria por 6-1 y 6-4 sobre Carina Witthoeft y la séptima cabeza de serie, Katerina Siniakova, superó a la sueca Rebecca Peterson por 6-3, 3-6 y 6-1.

Julia Goerges, por su parte, se vio obligada a retirarse con una lesión en la pierna ante la lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova, por 6-4, 2-2.

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07/25/2017 - 16:45
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2017 Bastad
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Nanchang shot of the day: Jelena Jankovic rips a powerful backhand

Abstract: 
Jankovic hits a killer backhand in her defeat over Jiaqi Kang.

Title

Nanchang shot of the day: Jelena Jankovic rips a powerful backhand

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07/25/2017 - 16:00
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Wozniacki dodges Parmentier challenge in Bastad

Caroline Wozniacki - Bastad (Ericsson Open)
Abstract: 
Caroline Wozniacki needed three sets and nearly two hours to move past a tricky Pauline Parmentier and reach the second round at the Ericsson Open in Bastad.

Title

Wozniacki dodges Parmentier challenge in Bastad

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Caroline Wozniacki - Bastad (Ericsson Open)

BASTAD, Sweden – Caroline Wozniacki needed three sets and nearly two hours to move past a tricky Pauline Parmentier and reach the second round at the Ericsson Open, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

The top seeded Wozniacki, a finalist here in 2009, took a few games to get settled back on the red clay of Bastad while Parmentier came fresh from a quarterfinal run at last week’s BRD Bucharest Open.

“It’s definitely much different playing on clay [than grass], so the match was a bit complicated,” Wozniacki said after the match.

“Obviously, it was nice to play in front of the nice Swedish and Danish crowd. It feels like home a bit. I felt the support, which was nice.”  

Wozniacki recovered from an early break down to take the opening set, but found herself in trouble in the second. Parmentier reeled off five games in a row to accelerate past the Dane and send them into a deciding set, where the Frenchwoman started off with a 2-0 lead.

But she couldn’t keep it up as Wozniacki came roaring back, winning the next six games in a row to wrap up the match after an hour and 52 minutes.

Check out Wozniacki’s post-match press conference at the Ericsson Open right here!

Also in action at the Ericsson Open, the top seeds had little trouble moving into round two as No.5 seed Carla Suárez Navarro dropped just one game in her 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Jasmine Paolini, No.6 seed Kiki Bertens posted a 6-1, 6-4 win over Carina Witthoeft and No.7 seed Katerina Siniakova moved past Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

No.8 seed Julia Goerges, on the other hand, found herself having to retire due to a bilateral thigh injury against lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova, trailing 6-4, 2-2.

More to follow…

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07/25/2017 - 16:00
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2017 Bastad
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Rodionova sorprende a la defensora del título Duan en Nanchang

Arina Rodionova (Jiangxi Open)
Abstract: 
Arina Rodionova eliminó a Duan Ying-Ying en la primera ronda del Jiangxi Open.

Title

Rodionova sorprende a la defensora del título Duan en Nanchang

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Arina Rodionova (Jiangxi Open)
Arina Rodionova

Nanchang, China - Arina Rodionova sorprendió a la defensora del título Duan Ying-Ying, derrotándola en la primera ronda del Jiangxi Open en dos sets seguidos, 7-5, 6-4.

La australiana tardó una hora y 42 minutos para derrotar a la quinta cabeza de serie.

"Fueron condiciones muy duras, muy húmedas", dijo Rodionova después. "He jugado contra ella este año dos veces, y he perdido las dos veces 7-6 en el tercero, así que sabía que iba a ser un partido muy duro y físico. Me estaba preparando para ello. Creo que hoy fue un poco difícil para las dos, me alegro de haber logrado pasar.

Rodionova jugará contra Liu Fangzhou en la siguiente ronda.

La sexta cabeza de serie Jelena Jankovic también avanzó en dos sets, superando a Kang Jiaqi, de 20 años, por 6-2 y 7-5.

"Una victoria es una victoria", dijo la serbia luego. "Siempre es bueno ganar un partido, especialmente en la primera ronda, la más dura. Mi oponente era una chica joven, una jugadora muy buena, y realmente hice lo mejor posible bajo estas condiciones - hace mucho calor afuera, mucha humedad, y realmente no es tan fácil quedarme ahí afuera, traté de centrarme todo lo que pude e hice lo mejor que pude, estoy contenta de haber sido capaz de ganar contra mi oponente hoy".

La jugadora de 32 años espera recuperarse de una decepcionante campaña de Wimbledon, en la que perdió en la primera ronda ante Agnieszka Radwanska, 7-6, 6-0.

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07/25/2017 - 15:00
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2017 Nanchang
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Sharapova takes heart from Venus's extended career

Maria Sharapova's delight at winning her first comeback match in Stüttgart was plain to see (Getty)
Abstract: 
Maria Sharapova says that 37-year-old Venus Williams is setting an example for all other tennis players to follow.

Title

Sharapova takes heart from Venus's extended career

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Maria Sharapova's delight at winning her first comeback match in Stüttgart was plain to see (Getty)
Maria Sharapova (Getty)

Newport Beach, CA, USA - Venus Williams's run to the Wimbledon final at 37 years of age impressed tennis fans around the world - and inspired her fellow players, not least Maria Sharapova.

The Russian, now 30, says that Venus has set an example in terms of career longevity for others athletes to follow.

"Just take an example from Venus, who’s able to do what she did at Wimbledon - to perform at the level that she’s able to perform at is an incredible example," Sharapova said at a press conference during the World Team Tennis event in California. "She’s definitely set the bar high."

Sharapova has now recovered from a muscle injury suffered prior to the start of the grass-court swing, and helped Orange County Breakers to a 22-19 victory over the San Diego Aviators on Monday by winning both her sets.

Asked about her form, Sharapova said: "I played much better than I did a week ago. That was an improvement and one of the main reasons why I wanted to come out here and play."

The former WTA World No.1 is scheduled to play at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, which begins on July 31.

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07/25/2017 - 14:15
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Sania Mirza holds court with India's Future Stars

Sania Mirza and Neha Dhupia leading kids in heart-thumping Bollywood-style warmup. (WTA)
Abstract: 
Sania Mirza and Bollywood star Neha Dhupia hosted children from the Freedom Again Foundation at the Sania Mirza Tennis Academy.

Title

Sania Mirza holds court with India's Future Stars

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Sania Mirza and Neha Dhupia (WTA)

HYDERABAD, India – Playing with a world champion is a dream come true for sports fans and potential athletes, and on Tuesday 30 local junior players and 10 children from the Freedom Again Foundation had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be on court with six-time Grand Slam winner and two-time WTA Finals doubles champion, Sania Mirza.

Mirza, who is the only player from India to achieve the WTA World No.1 doubles ranking, joined WTA Future Stars 2016 Indian representative Shivani Amineni and Bollywood superstar Neha Dhupia to lead a tennis clinic at the Sania Mirza Tennis Academy in Hyderabad.

Dhupia kicked things off with a fun warm-up session, while Mirza and Amineni demonstrated doubles drills and tactics on court, offering professional tips on match strategy and the winning mentality. Melissa Pine, Vice President of WTA Asia-Pacific and Tournament Director of the WTA Finals, also joined the trio to stage a doubles masterclass. 

“It means a lot to me to be a part of the WTA Future Stars again this year," said Mirza, who is hosting the WTA Future Stars clinic in Hyderabad for the second time. "The WTA Future Stars masterclass provides the platform to impart my knowledge, encourage more kids in India to lead a healthy lifestyle, and inspire future tennis stars to believe in themselves and achieve their goals.”

For the 10 children from Freedom Again Foundation, the WTA Future Stars clinic provided a chance to learn a range of basic tennis skills, some of them being introduced to the sport for the very first time. For the 30 local junior tennis players, the masterclass provided a unique opportunity for them to gain valuable and professional on- and off-court advice from the WTA stars.

"The children from Freedom Again Foundation have thoroughly enjoyed the invaluable experience today, learning from our local tennis superstar Sania Mirza and rising talent Shivani Amineni. We are heartened by the WTA's support to conduct the WTA Future Stars clinic here, inspiring our children to pursue their passion, no matter what it may be,” said Mushir Mohammed Khan, spokesperson for the of Freedom Again Foundation, an NGO that supports the needs of the underprivileged and increase standards of living in Hyderabad through food distribution, monetary and clothes donations and other special projects.

Sania Mirza and Neha Dhupia leading kids in heart-thumping Bollywood-style warmup. (WTA)
Melissa Pine, Sania Mirza and Neha Dhupia leading kids in heart-thumping Bollywood-style warmup. (WTA)
Melissa Pine, Sania Mirza and Neha Dhupia leading kids in heart-thumping Bollywood-style warmup.

After its first stop this year in Bangkok, the WTA Future Stars program continues to succeed as an initiative that aims to promote the sport and bring together players from across the Asia-Pacific region. In the WTA Future Stars tournament, held in conjunction with the BNP Paribas WTA Finals presented by SC Global in Singapore, each country sends two representatives, one each in the U14 and U16 categories, to compete against each other in October. The WTA Future Stars regional outreach will make its next stop in Indonesia in September.

Amineni, 2016 WTA Future Stars alumnus and U16 runner-up, said, “Participating in the WTA Future Stars last year was a great motivation for me to work hard and continue to pursue my passion. Last year’s experience was an amazing one for me, and making the final in Singapore has really driven me to push myself harder to achieve my dreams of becoming a professional WTA player.” 

“I’m so happy to be back to be able to share my story with the next generation of WTA Future Stars. I hope to be able to inspire my peers here to chase their dreams to embark on their own journey in the race to the WTA Future Stars finals in Singapore in October later this year."

Sania Mirza and Neha Dhupia (WTA)
Sania Mirza and Neha Dhupia (WTA)
Melissa Pine, Sania Mirza, Neha Dhupani and Shivani Amineni at the WTA Future Stars event in Hyderabad. (WTA)
Sania Mirza and Neha Dhupia hand out racquets - provided by WTA Charities - and lead the Future Stars in tennis drills.

WTA Charities is the WTA's global philanthropic organization dedicated to making a positive impact across the globe. Our mission is to be a social responsibility vehicle built on the WTA's values to empower and provide for a better future. We're dedicated to combining, strengthening and enhancing the community and charitable efforts of the WTA through its members (players, alumnae and tournaments), along with our partners.

Click here to see more WTA Charities activities!

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07/25/2017 - 10:45
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