As we’re counting down the days until the 2022 tennis season starts, Belinda Bencic and Ons Jabeur are both isolating themselves and treating COVID-19, even though they have both been vaccinated.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the world No.23 Bencic reveals that she has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing quite severe symptoms, including fever, aches and chills. The illness will not prevent the Swiss from making it to Australia. She will travel Down Under as soon as she gets well and completes the isolation period.
The world No.10 Jabeur is also experiencing severe symptoms and is currently isolating in Tunisia. She hasn’t mentioned her plans for Australia, but will let us know when she fully recovers.
Both Bencic and Jabeur played the December 16-18 Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, so it looks like they contracted the virus there.
Emma Raducanu stunned eleventh seed Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-4 and became the only qualifier in history — man or woman — to reach the US Open semifinals.
Facing a Top 20 opponent for the first time, the world No.150 Raducanu made a nervous start as Bencic opened their quarterfinal with a 2-0 lead. The 18-year-old Brit quickly found her range and broke back to level at 3-3. Bencic, who had dropped serve just three times en route to the quarterfinals, was broken by Raducanu twice more, as the underdog made her way to the semis.
Raducanu was ranked outside of Top 350 in the beginning of June. She entered Wimbledon as a wildcard, ranked No.338, and reached the fourth round. Now she’s projected to rise to No.51 and become the new British No.1.
The teenager already has massive star power. The latest confirmation of her celebrity status is the British Vogue photoshoot where she poses in clothes designed by Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Dior.
Belinda Bencic of Switzerland saved multiple set points in a marathon first set to defeat Iga Swiatek of Poland 7-6(2) 6-3 and reach the quarterfinals of the US Open.
The pair’s first career meeting was February’s Adelaide final, where Swiatek produced a dominant serving display to clinch the title. Today in New York, the first set alone lasted more than that final, as Bencic converted her fifth set point, having saved four herself. The seventh-seeded Swiatek came back from 5-3 down to force a tiebreak and then Bencic recovered from a 5-2 deficit in that tiebreak.
In the second set, the reigning Olympic gold medalist and 2019 US Open semifinals never dropped serve and advanced to the final eight without conceding a set.
Bencic’s next opponent will be first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist Emma Raducanu, who defeated American Shelby Rogers 6-2 6-1. The 18-year-old British qualifier won eleven games in a row after Rogers opened the first set with a 2-0 lead.
Swiss Belinda Bencic defeated Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 7-5 2-6 6-3 in the women’s singles final at the Tokyo 2020 Games to become the first Swiss woman to win an Olympic tennis gold medal.
The ninth-seeded Bencic opened the match with a 2-0 lead and even though Vondrousova broke twice to go 3-2 up, the Swiss broke back right away and eventually took the first set in an hour. The world No.42 Vondrousova comfortably won the second set and earned a break at the start of the decider. Bencic responded with three games in a row to go 3-1 up in the third set, but Vondrousova stayed competitive and leveled at 3-3. Bencic then won the next three games, including a love break, for the biggest triumph in her career.
The 24-year-old Bencic is guaranteed to win another medal in Tokyo. On Sunday she partners Viktorija Golubic in the women’s doubles gold medal match against the top-seeded Czech Republic team of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.
Belinda Bencic has secured a medal for Switzerland in both singles and doubles. In Saturday’s singles and Sunday’s doubles finals, the world No.12 will have a chance to win two gold medals on her Olympic debut.
🇨🇭 Switzerland is guaranteed a tennis medal of any colour for the FOURTH #Olympics in a row!
Beijing 2008: 🥇 for Federer/Wawrinka in doubles
London 2012: 🥈 for Federer in singles
Rio 2016: 🥈 for Hingis/Bacsinszky in doubles#Tokyo2020: 🥇 or 🥈 for @BelindaBencic#Tennis
Only Serena and Venus Williams have won singles and doubles gold in the same Olympic games in the modern era — Venus at Sydney 2000 and Serena at London 2012. When it comes to Swiss tennis players, Bencic joins Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Timea Bacsinszky, Martina Hingis and Marc Rosset in claiming an Olympic tennis medal.
In Thursday’s singles semifinals, the ninth-seeded Bencic fought past Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 7-6(2) 4-6 6-3 and sunk to the floor in tears of excitement. After the tense three-setter in which she saved six set points in the first set and recovered from 0-2 down in the third, Bencic described her feelings:
My emotions right now… it’s too high. To have a medal, it’s the greatest thing. Even to be here as an athlete, in the Olympics, it’s amazing.
To have a medal, it’s something I dreamed of, and I didn’t think it would become reality. I’m beyond relieved and happy.
Bencic’s opponent in the gold medal match will be Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova, who brushed aside Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-1 in the other semifinal. Svitolina and Rybakina will play for bronze medal on Saturday.
Later on Thursday, Bencic also reached the gold medal match in women’s doubles, as she and Viktorija Golubic defeated Brazilians Laura Pigossi and Luisa Stefani 7-5 6-3.
Four Top 10 women’s seeds lost in the first round of Wimbledon 2021, which equals the Open Era record set at the grass-court Grand Slam three years ago. Wednesday’s upsets of Bianca Andreescu and Belinda Bencic are added to Serena Williams’ injury exit on Tuesday and Petra Kvitova’s defeat to Sloane Stephens on Monday.
The fifth-seeded Andreescu was dominated by Alize Cornet 6-2 6-1. Andreescu has been a fixture in the Top 10 ever since she won the 2019 US Open, so it’s hard to fathom that this was only her second main-draw appearance at Wimbledon. Cornet, on the other hand, is playing her 14th Wimbledon, but she’s moved past the opening round for the first time since 2016.
I didn’t slip just once. I slipped like six times. The courts are super slippery. I have only played here once before, but they weren’t like this at all. I spoke to a couple other players, and they said it’s not that normal. But this is something we can’t really control.
The ninth-seeded Bencic lost to world No.102 Kaja Juvan of Slovenia 6-3 6-3 in the first round. Both players recorded 22 winners, but Bencic committed 28 unforced errors, 15 more than her opponent. Also, they both earned seven opportunities to break, but Bencic converted just two, five less than Juvan.
Besides Andreescu, Bencic, Williams, and Kvitova, Sofia Kenin is another early Top 10 casualty. The fourth seed’s loss happened in the second round to compatriot Madison Brengle 6-2 6-4.
Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova came back from a set down to upset fifth seed Belinda Bencic in the final of the inaugural Bett1Open in Berlin and win her first WTA title.
The second set was a mirror reflection of the first one, but in the world No.106 Samsonova’s favor, as she raced to a 5-0 lead and soon afterwards forced the decider. The Russian underdog continued the momentum as Bencic dropped serve at the start of the third set. After fighting off three break points to hold serve for 5-3, Samsonova broke Bencic once again for a confident 1-6 6-1 6-3 victory.
The 22-year-old Samsonova came through qualifying last week, beating Noma Akugue Noha and Ana Konjuh after trailing 4-1 in the final set. Before defeating Bencic for her third Top 20 victory, Samsonova’s list of victims in Berlin included two Grand Slam finalists and one Grand Slam champion: Marketa Vondrousova, Madison Keys and Victoria Azarenka. (photo: Jimmie48)
Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur beat Daria Kasatkina of Russia 7-5 6-4 in the Viking Classic Birmingham final to win her maiden WTA title and become the first Arab WTA singles champion.
The 26-year-old Jabeur was playing her third career final at the WTA 250 grasscourt event in Birmingham, having previously finished runner-up at the 2018 Kremlin Cup in Moscow to Kasatkina herself and earlier this year at the MUSC Health Women’s Open in Charleston to Astra Sharma.
Playing on a career-high ranking of No.24, this week Jabeur recorded victories over Catherine McNally, Leylah Fernandez, Anastasia Potapova, Heather Watson and finally Kasatkina. These five match wins are increasing Jabeur’s number of wins this season to 28, which is leveling her with Ashleigh Barty as Tour leader in this department.
Jabeur is bidding to become the fourth woman this season to sweep both singles and doubles titles at the same tournament, joining Ashleigh Barty at Stuttgart, Coco Gauff at Parma and Barbora Krejcikova at Roland Garros. The Tunisian is playing the doubles final alongside Ellen Perez against Lucie Hradecka and Marie Bouzkova.
Grand Slam fashion is more versatile than ever. I can’t find a common element that seems to be a must-have in women’s tennis apparel of today. There are numerous brands, each with their own approach to style. Still, if I had to pick some trends at the 2021 French Open, I can notice that iridescent fabrics, sparkly details, tie-dye prints, and see-through overlays are popular, together with timeless designs such as pleated skirts.
Some links in this post are affiliate, meaning that I will earn a small commission if you purchase something through those links.
World number two Naomi Osaka has a ton of obligations both on and off the court, but fashion design is one of her first loves, so it was a pleasure for her to collaborate with NikeCourt lead designer Carly Ellis on her custom dress and shoes for Roland Garros.
For the first time since Osaka earned the privilege of having her own Nike look, both her dress and sneaker are accessible to tennis fans worldwide, as they can be purchased at Tennis Warehouse USA and Tennis Warehouse Europe.
The Nike Naomi Dress is made from super-stretchy fabric that reduces cling. Mesh panels in high-heat areas such as the waist, chest and back are there to maximize breathability. Textured design gives a stylish iridescent look. Criss-cross back straps and pleats provide extra mobility.
The subdued black-and-white dress is paired with the Air Zoom GP Turbo Naomi Osaka shoes, whose tie-dye pattern and Swarovski crystals spice up the outfit.
Serena Williams turns 40 this year, but the legend continues to dominate the tennis fashion scene even after more than 25 years in professional sport. Her latest custom Nike outfit grabs attention with striking green tones. The American paired a long-sleeve top with matching shorts and a diagonal mock skirt over it.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion’s shoes feature drawings of the Eiffel Tower, a tennis ball, and motivational quotes such as “never stop fighting” and “je ne m’arrêterai jamais” which translates from French as “I will never stop.”
Nike’s main collection is elegant and sexy, almost suitable for a dinner date or an evening cocktail in Paris. The collection’s centerpiece is the Nike Summer Advantage Slam Dress that we can see here on Petra Kvitova. The dark-colored piece seduces with details and textures such as pleats on the right side of the skirt, diagonal open-knit sections in the upper back and chest, as well as an extra stretchy triangle inset in the high-heat area of the waist.
The Czech’s shoe is the Nike Air Zoom Vapor Pro, which takes the best features of the model it replaces (the Vapor X) and adds a new upper for the speediest Vapor yet.
Belinda Bencic is rocking the Nike Summer Advantage Slam Tank, featuring a sensual asymmetrical mesh overlay, and the Nike Summer Advantage Slam Skirt, unique for its origami-inspired pleats.
Defending champion Iga Swiatek is wearing the Asics kit introduced earlier in the clay-court season: the Spring Match Graphic Tank, Spring Match Skirt and Gel Resolution 8 Clay Shoes.
Adidas proudly advertises their clay season collection for its minimal impact on the environment. Maria Sakkari‘s black Adidas Prime Dope Dye Dress features glittery Y-back straps. The model also exists in scarlet with contrasting straps.
The most refreshing silhouette is Adidas’ Prime Blue Dope Dye Bodysuit worn by Garbine Muguruza. It has a snug fit that won’t move around. Its iridescent sheen appears to change color with every movement on court. The bodysuit’s perfect match is the Adidas Prime Dope Dye Match Skirt.
World No.1 Ashleigh Barty prefers classic sporty designs, so Fila provided her with the Celestial Point collection in a color palette of celestial blue, turquoise, black and white. Here we can see the 2019 French Open champion in the High-Neck Racerback Tank and the 13″ Skort.
Kiki Bertens promotes the Celestial Point Dress which includes color-blocking at chest and upper back, illusion mesh front and back, and a subtle, yet defining mandarin collar finish.
Venus Williams is bringing disco vibes with iridescent white pieces from her EleVen Glow Up collection: the EleVen Glow Up Venus Starr Dress and Fly Away Jacket.
Seventeen-year-old Coco Gauff is wearing a custom New Balance dress that combines olive and black with vibrant yellow accents.
K-Swiss went for a yellow ombre look. Their Ajla Tomljanovic is sporting the K-Swiss Summer Hypercourt Speed Tank and Hypercourt Pleated Skirt.
Christina McHale debuted white and yellow Lacoste separates that feature both the crocodile and Roland Garros logos. The American wore the Lacoste Spring RG Tank, featuring striped stretchy V-neck, and the Lacoste Spring RG Skirt, an all-around pleated design with a single yellow stripe at the hem.
Kristyna Pliskova represents Mizuno in a timeless combination of black and white. The front features a print that resembles shadows. The back features crossed thick mesh straps.
Chloe Paquet‘s Le Coq Sportif RG Performance Dress is all about the colors of the French flag.
Tamara Zidansek sports simple orange and white Joma separates.
Ever since Agnieszka Radwanska retired, Lotto seems to be fading away from the tennis fashion scene. They used to be one of dominant brands. Now they don’t seem to reach the media as often and their collections are not as available as before. However, they still have quite a few top representatives, including Michaela Buzarnescu.
Now that I’ve given you a comprehensive overview of women’s apparel at the 2021 French Open, what do you say, how stylish are on-court looks this year and which outfits are your favorites? Tell me in the comments below.
First-round action continued on a rainy Tuesday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Our Jimmie48 was photographing most of the matches, as well as practice sessions of players still awaiting to start their campaign in Rome.
Lucky loser Kristina Mladenovic knocked out tenth seed Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-4 and avenged her recent loss to the Swiss in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open.
I love these flying plait photos.
The world No.53 Mladenovic looked stunning in the black version of the Prime Blue Dope Dye Jumpsuit and the Match Skirt from Adidas’ eco-friendly collection dominated by iridescent tones.
Coming back from a hip injury, Roland Garros semifinalist Nadia Podoroska overcame lucky loser Laura Siegemund 2-6 7-6(3) 6-1 to book a second-round meeting with Serena Williams.
Madison Keys beat fellow American Sloane Stephens 4-6 6-2 7-5 in a topsy-turvy encounter decided predominantly by unforced errors.
The 2016 Rome finalist Keys lost the first set despite an initial 3-0 lead. In the second set, she stopped Stephens from recovering again and then fought back from a 2-0 deficit in the decider to move into the second round.
There were moments when Stephens was on her knees.
Both Keys and Stephens sported the Nike Summer Victory Polo Dress this Tuesday in Rome.
Seed No.12 Garbine Muguruza needed 66 minutes to dispatch Patricia Maria Tig, who entered the draw when Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova withdrew from singles with an abdominal injury.
In an encounter featuring two of the best-performing singles players of the 2021 season so far, Veronika Kudermetova came back from a set down to eliminate new doubles world No.1 Elise Mertens with whom she won the Istanbul doubles title last month.
Kudermetova’s +9 winners-to-unforced-errors differential was far better than Mertens’ -9, which included nine double faults.
The brand behind Cocciaretto’s tennis dress is Australian by l’Alpina. Their logo is a kangaroo.
After a rain delay, Angelique Kerber, Jelena Ostapenko and Ajla Tomljanovic wrapped up the first-round action as winners. Their victims were Alize Cornet, Johanna Konta and Marketa Vondrousova, in that order.
Petra Kvitova spotted our Jimmie48 from afar and waved with a smile showing through her mask.
Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty is getting ready for her Wednesday morning opener against Yaroslava Shvedova.
Karolina Pliskova also kicks off her Rome campaign tomorrow, as she enjoyed a first-round bye.
The Czech former world No.1 is accompanied by husband Michal Hrdlicka and coach Sascha Bajin.
Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Iga Swiatek were also spotted practicing on Tuesday.
Keep checking back to Women’s Tennis Blog as we continue to bring you exclusive photos from the 2021 Internazionali BNL d’Italia.