Year: 2021

Triumph of Kazakhstani female tennis players in Argentina: the national women’s team won the dramatic match of the Billie Jean King Cup

The Kazakhstan national team has once again demonstrated to the whole world the high level of tennis in our country having gained victory over Argentina in the Billie Jean King Cup match. This is the largest international team competition in women’s tennis. Until 2020, the tournament was called the Federation Cup, and after that it was given the name of the legendary American tennis player.

The play-off round match, in which the Kazakhstanis were opposed by the Argentina national team, took place on April 16 and 17 in the city of Cordoba – on the home court for our rivals.

The team included Elena Rybakina, Yulia Putintseva, Zarina Diyas, Anna Danilina and the playing captain Yaroslava Shvedova. The national team of Kazakhstan was called the undisputed favorite before the match, because at once three of our tennis players are in the top 100 of the world rating.

Before the match, the Vice-President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, Yury Polskiy, noted that the even and strong line-up of our team would allow us to effectively build the tactics and strategy of the whole match.

The first rival number was the 45th racket of the world Nadia Podoroshka, she fought for the victory together with Maria Lourdes Carle, who is in the fifth hundred of the rating, But this duel cannot be called easy for Kazakhstan. The first point, taking the decisive game against Nadia Podoroshka to zero, was brought to the national team by Yulia Putintseva (2: 6, 6: 4, 6: 0). After that, it seemed that the victory was closer than ever.

Yulia Putintseva
Yulia Putintseva

However, feeling sick Elena Rybakina could not play at her full strength with Maria Lourdes Carle (6: 4, 3: 6, 6: 0). The first day ended in a draw with an unpleasant aftertaste from doubts whether Lena would be able to recover by the next game day.

But fortunately, after the rest, a completely different Rybakina came out onto the court. The tennis player no longer had such catastrophic problems with making it into the court and coped with Nadia Podoroshka in two sets (6: 4, 6: 4).

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina

Yulia Putintseva had all chances to win an early victory for Kazakhstan but even here some bad luck interfered: Yulia was unable to complete the game against Maria Lourdes Carle because of the incessant spasm (6: 7 (3: 7), 7: 6 (7: 3) and refused to continue the game. Singles have not revealed a winner.

Our female tennis players showed a team spirit at a difficult moment. When Yaroslava Shvedova realized that Putintseva had serious problems and that she needed to go and warm up before the decisive doubles match, Zarina Diyas took over the duties of the captain.

“She’s so smart: she supported, geared up, encouraged,” Yaroslava Shvedova said later.

In the deciding game, the same Podoroshka and Lourdes Carle played for Argentina, and Kazakhstan was represented by the pair of Yaroslava Shvedova / Anna Danilina. In the first set, they severely defeated the Argentines, loosing no single game to them. And then the rivals came to their senses and made the Kazakhstani tennis players and their fans nervous. In the tense ending of the second set, captain of the national team Shvedova simply could not serve in the second square because of this emotional stress, but at the sixth try the girls none the less took this most important game over, and then the set (6: 0, 7: 5). Kazakhstan came out of this meet as the winner with a total score of 3: 2.

“The game turned out to be good, with wild energetics – both for me and Anya, and for the entire national team. We had to go out and fight, we understood the full responsibility not only to the team, but also to the country. We played great as a team these two days, we did our best. Our strength was unity. What happened in Cordoba is a real miracle!” said Yaroslava Shvedova after the victory.

Kazakhstan national tennis team
Kazakhstan national tennis team

The Kazakhstan national team not only retained its registration in the World Group but also got the right to play in the closing qualification for the 2022 final.

The captain of the women’s team stressed that Kazakhstan has assembled an almost perfect team.

“We need to work on confidence. But with such a team we have the power to make it not only into the final group stage of the Billie Jean King Cup, but also to win the trophy,” believes Yaroslava Shvedova.

Photo by Andrey Udartsev

Nur-Sultan is ready to become a permanent location for big tennis competitions: two challengers were held at the ATP 250 tournament level

This February and March the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation held two ATP tournaments in Nur-Sultan at once. Forte Challenger 100 and Forte Challenger 125 were held on the courts of the National Tennis Centre, the winners received 100 and 125 world ranking points, respectively.

The general sponsor of the two tournaments was Forte Bank, official partners – companies Kazzinс, Terra Motors and Aqua Rossa.

Last autumn Kazakhstan got its first experience in holding a tournament of the ATP 250 series. Participants and managers of the Association of Tennis Professionals themselves highly appreciated the level of organisation of competitions in the context of the pandemic when great attention is paid to the compliance with health safety measures in particular.

As at the beginning of 2021, due to the pandemic, many competitions around the world were still cancelled, the ATP asked the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation to hold two tournaments at once. This created an excellent opportunity for players who completed their performance at the Australian Open to immediately come to the capital of Kazakhstan and play two challengers.

The tournaments gathered a strong line-up of players. Emil Ruusuvuori, Mackenzie McDonald, Denis Istomin, who are well known to Kazakhstanis after their performance at the ATP 250, arrived in Nur-Sultan. Participants also included Kwon Soon-Woo and Tomas Machac – players famous among tennis fans.Kazakhstan was represented by almost the entire men’s team: Mikhail Kukushkin, Aleksandr Nedovyesov, Dmitry Popko, Timofey Skatov, Denis Yevseyev, Grigoriy Lomakin, Dostanbek Tashbulatov. Unfortunately, in singles, Kazakhstani tennis players left the tournament at the initial stages. The most successful was Aleksandr Nedovyesov, who, together with Ukrainian Denis Molchanov, won the Forte Challenger 100 in doubles.

Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Denis Molchanov
Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Denis Molchanov

American tennis player Mackenzie McDonald became the triumphant of the Forte Challenger 100 in singles.

“When an opportunity came to play in Nur-Sultan again, I did not doubt it for a minute. Last October, at the Astana Open tournament, I managed to make it through to the quarterfinal where I fell to my opponent. My second visit to the capital of Kazakhstan was successful. I enjoyed every minute as a guest in this beautiful country,” said McDonald at the award ceremony.

Mackenzie McDonald
Mackenzie McDonald

The Forte Challenger 125 final was won by Czech Tomas Machac.

“I like Kazakhstan, I am here for the fourth time and will be glad to come back again,” he said after the victory.

Tomas Machac
Tomas Machac

Taking into account the increased sanitary and epidemiological safety measures during the tournament, the games were played without the admission of spectators and within the framework of a strict protocol. Athletes could not just walk around the city and moved only from the hotel to the courts. But this will be another reason to return to the capital of Kazakhstan.

An important innovation was introduced at the Forte Challenger tournaments: broadcasts of all matches in excellent quality were available not only on the QazSport TV channel, but also on the website of the Tennis Federation.

The tennis players were able to get a little away from their routine during a charity photo session with dogs from the capital’s shelters. The organizers held this action to draw attention to the problem of homeless animals.

Aleksandr Nedovyesov with a shelter dog
Aleksandr Nedovyesov with a shelter dog

The costs incurred by the organisers to hold the two tournaments were actually not big, as Yury Polskiy, Vice President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation told. 

“The prize fund of both tournaments is known – 260 thousand dollars in total. But these expenses were fully covered by the ATP. Organisation of the tournaments costs about the same amount. Of course, we ourselves would not undertake to hold such tournaments, because it is very expensive. However, the ATP gave us a reasonably large grant, so our actual costs were low. Basically, we paid for the accommodation of players and coaches or other accompanying persons for the duration of the tournament,” says Yury Polskiy.

The players noted that the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, having paid certain efforts, managed to hold the challengers at the ATP 250 tournament level.

The ATP is definitely interested in continuing cooperation. The Federation has applied for a permanent licence to host tournaments in Nur-Sultan. Due to the instability caused by the pandemic, the calendar may occasionally give chances to host a tournament on a one-off basis.

“We don’t want to work on such conditions, simply because that if the president of our Federation, Bulat Utemuratov, starts something, then he puts it on a permanent basis. We have to be sure that a tournament will definitely be held, not least because we need to be able to come to arrangements with sponsors for a long haul. There is interest now, but potential sponsors want to know that the tournament is not a one-time action, but a long-term project,” added Yury Polskiy.

Photo by Andrey Udartsev, KTF

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation will allocate 1 million tenge to each family affected by fire and left homeless in Ridder

Families affected by fire in Ridder will get 1 million tenge each from Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation within the “Aid Card” project implemented jointly with the Red Crescent of Kazakhstan and ForteBank.

A large-scale forest fire unfolded in Ridder on 10 May. According to preliminary data, the blaze destroyed 31 residential houses, 7 household buildings and 1 car repair shop. An elderly woman was killed, two people were injured.

Bank cards of 1 million tenge value each will be given to all affected families over the coming days, as soon as the Red Crescent Disaster Response Team completes an assessment of the situation and the needs of the affected people. 

Having found out about the fire occurred in Ridder our team couldn’t step aside and decided to immediately look for ways to support those who were in trouble. And, for the aid to be timely and appropriate, we decided to provide financial support in the amount of 1 million tenge to each family left without a roof over their heads. To our deepest regret, the fire was not without casualties. I express my deep condolences to the family and friends of the perished Galina Filaretovna Spivakova,” said Marat Aitmagambetov, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation Director.

The joint charity project “Aid Card” has been successfully implemented from 2018 rendering assistance to victims of natural and man-made disasters. Through the “Aid Card” project, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation provided financial support for the total amount of about 1 million dollars.

Victims of floods in Petropavlovsk were given over 42 million tenge

Within the framework of the “Aid Card” project implemented by the Red Crescent of Kazakhstan, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and ForteBank, 861 resident of the North Kazakhstan Oblast will get financial assistance for the total amount of over 43 million tenge. An intensive snow melting resulted in a suburban area of the city of Petropavlovsk coming to be in the flooding zone.

The Red Crescent Disaster Response Team carried out an assessment of the situation and needs of victims of flooding in the city of Petropavlovsk. Bank cards with 50,000 tenge per each family member will be issued to 224 families. Aid will be provided to socially vulnerable groups: single pensioners, multi-child low-income families, disabled people and others for whom the flooded houses are the only residential property.

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation

“In our country people are eagerly responding to calls for help, they give clothes and food to victims, therefore there is no, as a rule, deficit in humanitarian aid. So we decided to pay our efforts to provide financial support. In this case, victims can choose themselves what to spend the received funds for. In our experience, most people decide to start with restoration of their houses and furniture,” told Marat Aitmagambetov, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation Director.

Inhabitants of the suburban area in Petropavlovsk have found themselves in the flooding zone not for the first time. Last year they also were among the recipients of aid cards. “We already know approximately when the water will start arriving and prepare for this in advance – lift the furniture up, roll up carpets, try and send children and the elderly to relatives living in the city. This year the water stood for several days. The floor, repaired last year, swelled up again and the walls began to crumble. As soon as the house is ventilated from dampness, I will start restoring it,” shared local resident Kairat Serikbayev.

Bulat Utemuratov's Foundation

“We are very pleased that you did not remain indifferent to our situation. It is not the first year that you have been helping, and thank you for helping not only here, but throughout Kazakhstan,” the victims say.

The joint charity project “Aid Card” has been successfully implemented since 2018. Earlier this month, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and the Red Crescent of Kazakhstan provided assistance to 200 affected residents of the Karasu district in the Kostanay Oblast for the amount of 10 million tenge.

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and the Red Crescent of Kazakhstan, in cooperation with local emergency authorities, are monitoring the situation in the regions and are ready to travel to locations of possible floods.

Victims of floods in the Kostanay Oblast received aid cards from Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation and the Red Crescent of Kazakhstan provided 10 million tenge monetary aid to residents of the Karasu District

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation jointly the Red Crescent of Kazakhstan provided monetary aid to residents of villages in the Karasu District, Kostanay Oblast, who were affected by floods, the Foundation said.

The villages of Karamyrza, Zheleznodorozhnoe and Molodezhnoe turned to be in the flooded zone after increased snow melting.

Flooded houses
Flooded houses

“A large part of our house was flooded, two rooms were flooded severely. We have a small child, but we could not fire the furnace because of the water in premises,” told Talgat, a resident of the Karamyrza village.  

Aid was rendered to villagers whose houses were affected the most, single pensioners, multi-child and single-parent families, disabled people.

Bank cards of 50,000 tenge per each family member were given to 58 families. 

Aid cards were issued to residents of the affected houses
Aid cards were issued to residents of the affected houses

“Many of today’s aid beneficiaries are seasonal workers and the force of nature exacerbated their already dire financial situation. We hope that the money received will help people to quickly cope with the consequences of floods and return to their usual life. The danger of flooding persists in several regions of the country at once, therefore, together with the Red Crescent, we will continue to monitor the situation and, if necessary, are ready to promptly help our compatriots,” said Marat Aitmagambetov, Director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.

The charity project “Aid Card” has been successfully implemented since 2018. For three years, over 8,000 people affected by natural and made-made disasters have received financial aid for the total amount of about 300 million tenge.

Flood victims received aid cards
Flood victims received aid cards

In 2020, aid cards were issued for 398 families in the Kostanay and North Kazakhstan Oblasts, and to residents of the Yenbekshi District in Shymkent. 

“I would like to say a big thank you that we are not left unattended. This money is a great support for us; we will be able to renovate, to start restoration of our house,” said Valentina Morar, a resident of the Molodezhnoe village.  

Photo by the Press Service of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation supported “El tiregi – Elbasy” campaign

4 000 food baskets formed by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation will be delivered to residents of the most densely populated cities of the country: Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Shymkent, and to Kyzylorda city.

Grocery baskets will be delivered to low-income multi-child families and families that are upbringing children with special needs. Lists of these families were formed jointly with the regional akimats (administrations), and the delivery of baskets is performed by volunteers.

El tiregi – Elbasy

“The “El tiregi – Elbasy” (translated from Kazakh “The pillar of the nation – its leader”) campaign became a real sample of unity, engagement and kindness of our compatriots. More and more businessmen, companies and caring Kazakhstanis are joining the campaign. Today, thanks to assistance rendered by Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, some more 4,000 families will get grocery baskets,” reads the address of Dinara Kulibayeva, the Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, Halyk Charity Foundation.

El tiregi – Elbasy

“We are happy to participate in the “El tiregi – Elbasy”campaign and to provide support to families that found themselves in a difficult life situation amidst the pandemic and quarantine restrictions. At present, more than ever, our society should stick together and help those who is in the most need because only doing so we will be able to overcome all hardships,” noted Marat Aitmagambetov, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation Director.

El tiregi – Elbasy

The “El tiregi – Elbasy” campaign started on 17 March.  The campaign was initiated by the Halyk Charity Foundation that gave over 15,000 grocery baskets to the families in need. The campaign was backed by prominent businessmen and companies – their assistance helped to deliver some more 16,000 grocery sets to various regions of the country.

In total, as part of the campaign, more than 35,000 families received grocery sets, over 1.7 million kilograms, more than 50 kilograms of food for each family.

The Halyk Charitable Foundation plans to hold the “El Tiregi – Elbasy” campaign repeatedly throughout 2021 and calls on representatives of the business community and other charitable organisations to join.

Kazakhstan national team defeated Argentina in the deciding match of the Billie Jean King Cup

NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM – The confrontation in the playoffs of the Billie Jean King Cup between Argentina and Kazakhstan ended with a triumph for our National Team! The second game day of the match meeting in Cordoba turned out to be 100% dramatic. The press service of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation has summed up the results of the tournament, Kazinform International News Agency reports.

An even score 1:1 after the first day meant that teams should start from scratch again. The morning session was opened by Elena Rybakina and Nadia Podoroska. The day before Rybakina, unexpectedly for everyone and for herself, lost to Maria Lourdes Carle. It happened because of her feeling unwell due to sunstroke. There were fears that Elena would not be able to recover and play, but the best tennis player in the country not only came to her senses, but a day later she entered the court with renewed vigor. The fate of the first set was decided in the 10th game, when Elena took the opponent’s serve – 6: 4. In the second game, the Kazakh, inspired by the success and strong support of her teammates, also felt confident. A break in the fourth game gave our tennis player an advantage in points.

Then the Argentinean managed to take the serve at the most crucial moment, when Rybakina served for the match. But then the scenario of the first set was repeated. After the change of sides, Podoroska came out to serve and at the most crucial moment Nadia’s hand trembled, she gave Elena not only the game, but the whole match. Again the score was 6: 4 and Kazakhstan took the lead in the confrontation with Argentina 2-1.

“Today I was tuned up for the game. I felt better than yesterday. The day before, we talked with the captain and came to a decision that I should go to court. The girls supported me actively, for which I am very grateful. Today’s duel was hard for me: both physically and psychologically. I was ready to fight; I set myself the task of winning in two sets, as playing in three games would be difficult for me in every sense of the word. I am happy that I was able to win!” shared her emotions Rybakina after the game.

Yulia Putintseva followed on to the court. But confidently leading her match to victory, the 30th racket of the world could not finish the meeting with Maria Lourdes Carle. Two sets ended in tie-breaks. The first was won by the Kazakhstani – 7: 6 (7: 3), and the second – with the same score 7: 6 (7: 3) – by the owner of the court, but Yulia was leading in that set and would have finished it winning if not for the muscular cramp. In the 8th game, during her serve, the Kazakhstani began to experience discomfort. After a long break and medical assistance, Yulia still started the third set, but could not finish even a game. The local medical team assisted her right on the court.

Argentina leveled the score again and now the teams had to play in doubles, this game was to be deciding. Anna Danilina and playing captain Yaroslava Shvedova were announced for our team. At first, the Kazakhstani tennis players had a great advantage in this meeting, not least due to their freshness: they have not entered the court of Cordoba yet, and their rivals Podoroska and Lourdes had two difficult games in two days. Our team defeated the Argentines in the first set, giving them no single game – 6: 0. Experienced Shvedova started her attacks powerfully from the back line, and Danilina, who plays flawlessly at the net, skillfully completed them. The local spectators fell silent, and the rivals resided in a slight shock. A struggle ensued in the second set. The Argentineans, urged on by local fans, began to snap back and were able to convert a break point, but they lacked the skill and luck that always accompanies the strongest to turn the tide of the meeting. 7: 5 – in favor of the Kazakhstanis.

Thus, Kazakhstan won a historic victory, winning for the first time in the playoff round away. The national team not only retained its registration with the World Group, but also received the right to play in the closing qualification for the final of 2022. Today winners were determined in 7 more pairs in playoff rounds: Ukraine – Japan 4:0, Poland – Brazil 3:2, Netherlands – China 3:2, Great Britain – Mexico 3:1, Serbia – Canada 0:4, Latvia – India 3:1, Romania – Italy 1:3. Now these 7 winning teams, together with Kazakhstan, have advanced to the decisive qualifying round, which will take place in February 2022. They will also be joined by 8 more teams out of 10 who achieved places from 3 to 12 in the final-2021 (two teams out of 10 will immediately go directly to the final-2022 whereas one will be from the host country, and the other will be given a wild card). Accordingly, 16 teams will be split by draw into pairs, where 8 participants of the 2022 final will be determined in matchup with each other (they will already be awaited there by the finalist and the winner of the 2021 final, the host country and one wild card holder).

To remind, the Billie Jean King Cup tournament until 2020 was called the Federation Cup, but in September it was renamed in honor of the American tennis player Billie Jean King.

Tomas Machac became the winner of Forte Challenger 125 tennis tournament in Nur-Sultan

He outplayed Sebastian Ofner in three sets.

Forte Challenger 125 tournaments finished in Nur-Sultan.  The title in the final was won by Czech Tomas Machac, whose rival was Sebastian Ofner from Austria.

Ofner was leading 5:2 in the first set, but he was not able to take the set right away, giving the opponent two more games. On the fourth attempt, the Austrian finally took the set-ball.

Sebastian Ofner
Sebastian Ofner

Machac was not going to give up easily and made a break at the beginning of the second set, which allowed him to complete the set in his favor.

Both tennis players hardly escaped break points in two protracted opening games of the deciding set, finally saving their serves each. When the score was 2:2 on the game-ball, Machac barely touched the line and the line referee recorded an out. However, the chair umpire made a decision in favor of the Czech. Ofner did not agree with the latter.

Arguments with the chair did not lead to anything good, and the Austrian lost the next game on his serve. This mistake decided the outcome of the match. Machac was very concentrated and confidently took the victory in the meet.

The result of the final was 4:6, 6:4, 6:4. Tomas Machac is the champion of Forte Challenger 125.

“The fight is always tense in any final. My opponent played very well, served excellently. However, I managed to win, although I was upset that I lost the first set because of my mistakes. I like Kazakhstan. I’m here for the fourth time and I will be happy to come again,” Machac said after his victory.

The final of the doubles category a day earlier was won by Americans Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow.

Forte Challenger 125 winners Jackson Withrow and Nathaniel Lammons
Forte Challenger 125 winners Jackson Withrow and Nathaniel Lammons

This is already the second ATP tournament in the capital of Kazakhstan for the last two weeks: the Forte Challenger 100 final took place in the National Tennis Centre on 28 February. That was won by American Mackenzie MacDonald.

General sponsor of the tournaments – ForteBank. Official partners of the tournaments – Kazzinс, Terra Motors, Aqua Rossa.

Photo by Andrey Udartsev

Mackenzie McDonald won Forte Challenger 100 in singles in Nur-Sultan

He took the victory over Austrian Yury Rodionov. The outcome of the meet is 6:1, 6:2.

An American tennis player Mackenzie McDonald won Forte Challenger 100 in singles in Nur-Sultan. The American defeated Austrian Yury Rodionov in the deciding game with a score of 6:1, 6:2, the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation reports on its website.

Mackenzie McDonald won in singles
Mackenzie McDonald won in singles

“Both tennis players came to the final in a good shape. Rodionov started the final confidently. In the first game, the Austrian had two break points on the American’s serve, but having made powerful two serves Mackenzie levelled the game, and put an end to the next rally with a powerful forehand. The unrealized break greatly affected the psychological state of Rodionov, who gave two games to his opponent on his serve. MacDonald pulled his opponent apart in the corners and took the first set with a score of 6:1,” the report says.

Mackenzie MacDonald played aggressively, with tight shots across the entire width of the court and tried not to let the opponent slow down the game, which brought him points. The game of the Austrian tennis player “fell down”, experts say. MacDonald was well concentrated, focused on the game and finished his shots accurately.

“Discouraged Rodionov could not return to the game and lost the set – 2:6 and the whole match,” noted in the Federation.

At the awards ceremony, the winner thanked the opponent for a good final and the organisers for making Forte Challenger 100 bright and exciting.

“When an opportunity came to play in Nur-Sultan again, I did not doubt it for a minute. Last October, at the Astana Open 2020 tournament, I managed to make it through to the quarterfinal where I fell to my opponent. My second visit to the capital of Kazakhstan was successful. I enjoyed every minute as a guest in this beautiful country,” the American said at the award ceremony.

Mackenzie McDonald placed 100 rating points on the record of his achievements and took a cheque for USD 14,400.

Photo by the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation

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