Tennis

First golds awarded at Pacific Mini Games as hosts enjoy tennis success

Less than 24 hours after the Opening Ceremony of the Games, the host nation topped the podium to deliver home success.

The Northern Mariana Islands’ men’s tennis team overcame Vanuatu 2-1 at the American Memorial Park.

Vanuatu silenced the home crowd when they won the opening singles match as Clement Mainguy defeated Robbie Schorr 6-4, 6-0.

But the Northern Mariana Islands hit back in emphatic fashion with Colin Sinclair producing a stunning display in his 6-0, 6-1 thrashing of Aymeric Mara.

Swiatek rolls on

Poland's Swiatek, who has put together the longest winning run since Serena Williams racked up 27 victories in 2015, will face 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the quarter-finals of the claycourt event on Friday.

Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, is seeking her fifth title this season, having won in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami and Stuttgart.

Andreescu reached her first WTA 1000 quarter-final in 14 months by defeating qualifier Petra Martic 6-4 6-4.

Swiatek replaces Barty as No 1

Swiatek clinched the ranking after defeating Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-0 in the second round of the Miami Open, becoming the first Polish player to ascend to the No 1 position in singles.

She will become the new world No 1 when the WTA rankings are released on April 4

At 20 years, 308 days old, Swiatek will be the youngest player to make her No 1 debut since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

"It's a dream come true, for sure," Swiatek said. "It's that kind of thing that I wanted to happen someday, but I didn't really know that it's going to be possible for me.

World number one Ash Barty retires

"Current WTA world number one Ashleigh Barty has today announced her retirement from professional tennis following a remarkable career at the top of the women's game," the WTA said in a statement this afternoon.

In a statement on Instagram, Barty said today was "difficult and filled with emotion for me" as I announce my retirement from tennis.

"I am so thankful for everything this sport has given me and leave feeling proud and fulfilled. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, I'll always be grateful for the lifelong memories that we created together."

Tennis legend Rafa Nadal injured

Nadal, the winner of a record 21 Grand Slam singles titles, complained of a chest issue during his run to the final of the ATP 1000 event in Indian Wells, California last week.

Upon his arrival in Spain today, Nadal visited his medical team in Barcelona for tests which revealed "a stress fracture of the third left costal arch".

"This is not good news and I did not expect this," Nadal said in a statement sent by his team.

Serena Williams says case 'must be investigated'

Peng, 35, has not been heard from since she made sexual assault allegations against a leading Chinese government official two weeks ago.

Chinese state media has released an email attributed to Peng, but doubt has been cast about its authenticity.

"I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible," said Williams.

Concern for Peng's welfare has continued to grow since she said she was "forced" into a sexual relationship with former China vice-premier Zhang Gaoli.

World number one Barty retires from Italian Open

Barty, the 2019 French Open winner, was leading 6-4 2-1 against her American opponent when she called a physio and had her right-arm strapped with a compression sleeve.

The Australian eventually decided against continuing the match in wet conditions in Rome, allowing Gauff to book a place in the final four.

Barty missed the 2020 claycourt swing due to the COVID-19 pandemic but has returned even stronger this season, winning the title in Stuttgart before finishing runner-up to Aryna Sabalenka in Madrid last week.

Samoa and Tonga reach tennis men's doubles semis

In the men’s doubles quarter finals, Tongan brothers Matavano and Semisi Fanguna upset second seeds, PNG’s Mark Gibbons and Matthew Stubbings, to progress to the semi-finals. An excited Matavano Fanguna said: ”This win means a lot. It’s our second Pacific Games but our first time to progress to the semis”.

Osaka targets more major glory

Osaka triumphed 6-2 6-4 on Saturday in a final that was overshadowed by a dispute between opponent Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos.

Williams was issued a code violation for what the official deemed to be coaching from Patrick Mouratoglou, irritating the 23-time major champion who insisted she was not a cheat.

A point penalty for racquet abuse led to her branding Ramos a "liar" and a "thief" and she was then docked a game, after which the American called for the match referee and alleged she was being treated differently to male players.

Pacific Oceania expecting big step up after Fed Cup promotion

The regional team came from behind to beat Singapore 2-1 in their promotion play-off semifinal in Bahrain at the weekend, winning the decisive doubles rubber in straight sets.

Team captain Gilles De Gouy said, after three years in Group Two, taking on the likes of China, Korea and Kazakhstan will be a whole new level.

"Because now we are going to compete with girls definitely in big countries of tennis, girls who are in the top 100 or top 200 for most of them...definitely playing between the middle of the big nations of Asia," he said.