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Osaka Wins Indian Wells Return; Nadal Calls for Tougher Punishment on Zverev

Posted by: Hilbert Mayer
Osaka Wins Indian Wells Return Nadal Calls for Tougher Punishment on Zverev

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka won the first match of her Indian Wells return. She outclasses Sloane Stephens in three sets in the first round on Thursday. Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka is ranking 78th in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings. She fights back from a set down to beat former US Open champion Stephens, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. This was the 24-year-old’s first tournament since her third-round ouster in the Australian Open. She fights hard to defeat Stephens in an early marquee showdown.

Down 0-2 in the third set, Osaka wins the last six games. She marches into a second-round clash against 21st seed Veronika Kudermetova. She started the rally in the third game of the third set when she saved three break points. It was the Japanese first Indian Wells appearance since 2019. She once held the title in 2018. It was her first WTA title and kickstarted her dominance in the tennis scene. In a tournament deprived of the sudden exits of the world’s top two netters, online WTA betting sites might opt for an alternative bet and Osaka could be the best option with a resounding win against a former Grand Slam winner.

Nadal Wants Zverev to Receive Tougher Punishment

Rafael Nadal demands tougher sanctions against players who abuse tennis officials. This is in the wake of the punishment for Olympic champion Alexander Zverev. Speaking from a fan’s perspective, the 21-time Grand Slam champion said that tougher sanctions are needed. This is to deter such violent outbursts in the future. He, however, clarifies that he is a friend and practice partner of Zverev. He did not want to see the German receive a stiffer punishment for his sudden loss of calm at last month’s Mexico Open in Acapulco.

Nadal, who is 15-0 in 2022 and is seeking to continue his winning run at the Association of Tennis Professionals/Women’s Tennis Association-sanctioned tennis event, said that Zverev should have recognized the mistake he committed as it is wrong to smash any object to the officials. The German was disqualified from the tournament and received a suspended eight-week ban and USD25,000 fine for the incident. Some tennis experts decried the punishment, calling it too lenient. Nadal, ranked fourth in the tournament, looks to win his fourth Indian Wells title and will begin his campaign in the second round against Sebastian Korda, who kicked off his tournament with a win over Thanasi Kokkinakis in straight sets, on Saturday.

Novak Djokovic Out of Indian Wells, Miami

Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic has announced that he will not compete in hardcourt tournaments in Indian Wells, California, and Miami due to his coronavirus vaccination status. Djokovic remains unvaccinated. That status forces his deportation in Australia in January. This deprives the Serb the opportunity to defend his title in the Australian Open. The former world number one released a tweet on Wednesday, saying that the Centers for Disease Control will not change their Covid regulations, forcing him to miss the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, and the Miami Open.

Djokovic opposes the need for vaccination to travel. He tests positive for Covid after holding a series of exhibition games in Serbia and Croatia. This was when there was no social distancing and masking rules in 2020. Djokovic is having a turbulent year due to his vaccination status. His inactivity forced him to lose the world number one ranking from Daniil Medvedev. Last month, the Serb declares that he will not get vaccinated even if he needs to be in order to participate in Grand Slam events, such as the French Open or Wimbledon. Djokovic’s insistence that he would not be inoculated forces websites that contain ATP betting picks to discount him in the betting options. It gives more opportunities for other tennis players to win big tournaments and gain additional ranking points.