Swiatek wins China Open: Women’s world number two Iga Swiatek captured the China Open on Sunday, dominating Liudmila Samsonova in straight sets. The title run capped a strong showing for the 22-year-old Polish netter and kicks off her quest to dislodge Aryna Sabalenka, who deposed Swiatek as the world’s top-ranked player last month. Swiatek was the top favorite among experts who focus on sports picks and parlays especially that Sabalenka was knocked out in the quarterfinals and Coco Gauff’s 17-match winning streak was broken in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Australian Open organizers have announced that the 2024 tournament will become a 15-day event by starting Sunday, instead of Monday. The purpose of the date change is to prevent late-night endings that proved to be troublesome for tennis players.
Swiatek wins China Open: Swiatek Beats Samsonova to Capture 2023 China Open
Swiatek delivered an excellent performance on Sunday in China, as she defeated giant-killer Liudmila Samsonova, 6-2 6-2, to win the first China Open since the coronavirus pandemic. The Polish netter broke the Samsonova’s serve in the sixth game and won three more games, including the eighth where Swiatek scored on an error. The 22-year-old exuded confidence in the second set as she again broke her opponent twice. The Pole secured the title when Samsonova sent an ill-advised drop shot into the net. According to Swiatek, winning the China Open is big for her as she did not expect to win the event due to the quality of competition in this year’s tournament.
The Pole was only favored to win the China Open when she outclassed Coco Gauff, who had her 17-match winning streak broken in the final four on Saturday. Swiatek’s journey got easier when Sabalenka, the World No1, was defeated in the last eight by fifth seed Elena Rybakina. The Kazakh got the door when Samsonova beat her in straight sets also on Saturday. The match concluded the first China Open since 2019, after Beijing lifted the travel restrictions that formed part of a long-time zero-coronavirus policy. It was also the first time the women’s tournament had taken place since the Women’s Tennis Association announced the end of an embargo imposed on the East Asian nation following sexual assault allegations by former player Peng Shuai.
Australian Open to Hold 15-day Tournament in 2024
Australian Open organizers has announced that the 2024 tournament will become a 15-day event as it would start on Sunday, January 14, in a historic first. In a statement, Craig Tiley, chief executive officer of Tennis Australia and tournament director of the Australian Open, said that they are excited to provide a solution to minimize late finishes. Tiley added that they adhered to the suggestion of the fans and players while continuing to provide a fair and equitable schedule on the stadium courts. The additional day would mean the first round will now be played over three days instead of two and the Tennis Australia official noted that it will also give fans an extra day of unbelievable tennis and entertainment.
The Sunday start will also increase the number of AO sessions in the three arenas from 47 to 52. The day session of the Australian Open at Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena will have a minimum of two matches, down from three, to limit the possibility of late endings. Organizers said that night sessions will continue to feature a minimum of two matches with the John Cain Arena schedule also remaining unchanged. The Grand Slam event will end on January 28, 2024.
Late Finishes at Australian Open 2023 Lead to Schedule Change for 2024
The change was made following the 2023 event wherein former world number one and three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray faced Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round. The match lasted for five hours and 45 minutes and concluded at around 4am. Murray complained about the instance, saying that it will not help the umpires and officials as they needed respite as well.
Two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova used the social media to write about the late finish issue. She said that having a late finish was far from ideal and then be back on the schedule. Another possible benefit of having an extra day is increased revenue from tickets and merchandise. It will also benefit the online tennis betting segment as it would provide an additional day of placing their bets on who they think will win the matches scheduled for the day. They can also choose from a number of parlays and options available in that match so that they can get more money on side bets like these.