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Azarenka pulls out of US Open amid custody fight

Belarusian chooses welfare of eight-month old son over career

Image Credit: AP
In this Sept. 3, 2015, file photo, Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, returns a shot to Yanina Wickmayer, of Belgium, during the second round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, in New York.
Gulf News

New York: Two-time US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka confirmed her withdrawal from the tournament on Monday amid a custody battle concerning her eight-month-old son.

Azarenka, who signalled last week she may miss the tournament rather than travel to New York without her son Leo, confirmed her withdrawal in a statement.

“I am sadly unable to compete in this year’s US Open due to my ongoing family situation that I am working through,” the Belarus star said.

“While I will dearly miss being in New York and playing in one of my favourite tournaments where I have enjoyed some of the best moments in my career, I am already looking forward to being back next year.”


Kisses for mommy ❤️ long day today but I got to put my son to bed which is the best part of it! And see you second week @Wimbledon 😊

A post shared by Victoria Azarenka (@vichka35) on

The Belarusian reached the final in 2012 and 2013 where she was beaten by Serena Williams on both occasions.

The 28-year-old said last week she would skip Flushing Meadows rather than be separated from her baby.

It came after a Los Angeles judge presiding in her custody case with the boy’s father, Billy McKeague, said the child could not leave California until the matter had been resolved.

Azarenka, ranked 204 after a layoff while pregnant and after her son’s birth, played last month at Wimbledon, reaching the round of 16 before losing to second-ranked Simona Halep.

“Shortly after Wimbledon, Leo’s father and I separated and as we work to resolve some of the legal processes, the way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the US Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in California, which I’m not willing to do,” Azarenka said last week.

“I look forward to hopefully having positive developments soon so that this difficult situation can be resolved and I can get back to competing.

“No parent should have to decide between their child or their career.”


Nadal’s longevity

Rafael Nadal’s return to the top of the world rankings is a testament to the Spaniard’s longevity in the game and is as impressive as any of his career achievements, men’s tennis chief Chris Kermode has said.

The 31-year-old Nadal became the world number one for the first time since July 2014 after replacing Britain’s Andy Murray at the top spot on Monday.

“To regain the No. 1 ranking nine years after having first reached it is unprecedented,” ATP president Kermode said in a statement.

“Rafa has been setting records throughout his remarkable career and this one is as impressive as any. It shows incredible dedication and longevity, and we congratulate him on this amazing achievement.”




New Haven Open

Women’s Singles (Round 1): Zhang Shuai (China) beat 3-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) 6-2 6-1 Kirsten Flipkens (Belgium) beat Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine) 6-2 6-3 Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) beat Lauren Davis (U.S.) 6-1 6-3 Daria Gavrilova (Australia) beat Kristyna Pliskova (Czech Republic) 7-5 4-6 7-5/sTimea Babos (Hungary) beat 4-Kristina Mladenovic (France) 7-5 7-5 8-Peng Shuai (China) beat Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic) 1-6 6-3 7-6(3) Ana Bogdan (Romania) beat 5-Elena Vesnina (Russia) 7-5 7-5 Magda Linette (Poland) beat Roberta Vinci (Italy) 6-3 6-1 Elise Mertens (Belgium) beat Kiki Bertens (Netherlands) 4-6 6-4 6-2 Daria Kasatkina (Russia) beat 7-Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic) 7-5 6-3 6-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) beat Christina McHale (U.S.) 3-6 6-2 6-4.

Winston-Salem Open

(Men’s Singles, Round 2) Jan-Lennard Struff (Germany) beat 5-Pablo Cuevas (Uruguay) 7-6(2) 7-5 Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus) beat 16-Jiri Vesely (Czech Republic) 6-2 7-6(3) Round 1 Taylor Fritz (U.S.) beat Malek Jaziri (Tunisia) 4-6 6-4 6-3 Julien Benneteau (France) beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert (France) 6-3 6-2 Kyle Edmund (Britain) beat Thomas Fabbiano (Italy) 6-2 6-3 Carlos Berlocq (Argentina) beat Alex Bolt (Australia) 6-2 6-4 Andrey Rublev (Russia) beat Steve Darcis (Belgium) 6-4 6-4 Donald Young (U.S.) beat Rogerio Dutra Silva (Brazil) 6-4 6-2 Andreas Seppi (Italy) beat Janko Tipsarevic (Serbia) 6-2 6-2 Lu Yen-Hsun (Taiwan) beat Jonathan Eysseric (France) 6-2 6-1 Damir Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina) beat Denis Istomin (Uzbekistan) 6-4 6-4/sHoracio Zeballos (Argentina) beat Dominik Koepfer (Germany) 6-2 6-1 Marton Fucsovics (Hungary) beat Ernests Gulbis (Latvia) 7-6(1) 6-2.