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#MLM: Aleksandra Krunic’s Big Finish

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Krunic takes trophy in Ankara

Aleksandra Krunic was the last big winner of 2014, saving three match points against Akgul Amanmuradova to claim the title at the $50,000 event in Ankara, Turkey last week. It seemed as though the clock struck midnight for Krunic, who went just 1-3 in singles on the WTA Tour following her US Open odyssey, but the Serb found some of her magic touch to claim one of the biggest titles of her career thus far.

Krunic started her week in Turkey with a three-set win over enigmatic Frenchwoman Amandine Hesse, and didn’t drop a set against en route to the final against Anhelina Kalinina, Gioia Barbieri and Valentyna Ivakhnenko. She fell behind a set to Amanmuradova in the final match, before rallying from 6-3 down in the tiebreak to see off the big-serving Uzbek, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(6).

The win vaulted Krunic up to World No. 87 – a new career-high. A top 100 ranking will afford Krunic the ability to play more WTA events than ever before, and her 2015 season will begin in the qualifying of Shenzhen and Sydney. A direct acceptance in Melbourne, Krunic will play in the main draw of a Grand Slam outside of Flushing Meadows for the first time.

Zvonareva to make return at $10,000 event 

Former World No. 2 Vera Zvonareva is set to make yet another comeback from a shoulder injury in 2015 – and the Russian is starting from the bottom. Currently ranked World No. 253, but using her Special Ranking (SR) to enter the WTA event in Shenzhen and the Australian Open, Zvonareva is also entered in the $10,000 event in Hong Kong beginning Dec. 29.

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After attempting to make a return from shoulder surgery last season, the Russian shut down her season following a third-round loss to Zarina Diyas at Wimbledon and sporadic Mylan World TeamTennis play. Zvonareva last played an event at the lowest rung of the ITF as a 16-year-old in 2001; in fact, her last match at that level came at an event in Cagliari, Italy – where she lost in the quarterfinals to…Svetlana Kuznetsova. #statz

BONUS: Players, purses and prize money…oh my

Earlier this month, the ATP announced a 14 percent annual increase in prize money over the next four years at Masters 1000 tournaments. With Grand Slam prize money also at an all-time high, the rich in tennis are set to get even richer in the coming seasons. However, not much has been done in the sport’s lower levels: namely, the ITF and Futures events. More discussion has come about in recent months following a letter to the ITF from Tomás Buchhass, a 22-year-old from Argentina. Buchhass posted his dissatisfaction with the conditions at a Futures tournament in Chile, and it was translated into English by BATennisWorld.

In response, the ITF is looking to take action, as reported by The New York Times’ Ben Rothenberg:

The I.T.F. found that the top 1 percent of male players (the top 50) earned 60 percent of all prize money, while the top 1 percent of female players (only the top 26 because of the smaller total number) earned 51 percent.

In response, the I.T.F. has proposed increasing prize money at all levels of the pro circuit, which currently has men’s tournaments with total purses of $10,000 and $15,000 and women’s tournaments with purses between $10,000 and $100,000. (Men’s tournaments with prize pools above $15,000 are run by the ATP Challenger Tour, while the WTA delegates its Challenger-level events to the I.T.F.)

If the proposal is approved by the federation board in March, the increases will take effect in 2016. The $10,000 tournaments would increase to $15,000; the $15,000 tournaments to $25,000; the $50,000 tournaments to $60,000; the $75,000 tournaments to $90,000; and the $100,000 tournaments to $125,000.

BATennis World also received a copy of the original email that the ITF sent to the players. In it, the ITF states that it’s currently undertaking a review to “improve entry onto the performance pathway, increase prize money, raise event standards and ensure developing nations have the best opportunity to produce world class players.”

Naomi Cavaday makes impassioned plea for umpires

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Great Britain’s Naomi Cavaday – best known for taking Martina Hingis to three sets at Wimbledon in 2007 – made a return to competitive tennis earlier this year. The Brit has been toiling away on the ITF Circuit this year, and has won an addition three titles since her return. Perhaps most notable, however, has been her willingness to share how the “other half” on the ITF lives through social media postings and a blog. Her latest post sees Cavaday take the side of a group of people not often defended in professional tennis: umpires.

In her post, Cavaday recounted an incident she allegedly witnessed on the ITF Circuit earlier this fall where an unnamed player allegedly did all of the following without being defaulted (quoted):

  • Stick her middle finger up at him
  • Brake her racket
  • Smack the Umpire’s chair with her racket
  • Mock him in a particularly nasty way by confirming every call made regardless of how far out it was
  • Nail a ball straight at his face (which missed)
  • And call him numerous other names in rather colourful language that I can’t remember (I was playing a match on the next court and finding this vile girl rather irritating)

Cavaday minces no words when discussing players’ treatment of umpires, calling some altercations “personal attacks” and equating them to bullying.

In closing, she points out the glaring inconsistency that exists between tennis and other sports. Officials in most sports have means of recourse when subjected to abuse; tennis umpires are forced to sit there and take it, no matter how correct their decision is.

Complain to an Umpire, tell them they are wrong, and argue with them if you must but don’t take your frustrations out on them and turn it in to a one sided personal attack. They can’t defend themselves, they can’t do anything but sit still politely listening to your barrage of abuse. They aren’t allowed to say anything to you when you were match point up just in time for lunch, but then decided to have a meltdown and keep them on the court for another 2 hours and now they are still there desperate for the loo. Be reasonable and fair and just play tennis for f**ks sake.

About Victoria Chiesa (113 Articles)
One time, Eva Asderaki told me I was lovely. It was awesome. @vrcsports

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