Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova has had a disappointing fortnight after returning to the court following her first round loss to Vera Dushevina at the U.S. Open at the end of August. Sevastova last week traveled to Uzbekistan to play in the Tashkent Open – a tournament that most of the world’s top 50 players opted not to attend. Yet despite the field being slim on top talent, Sevastova failed to take advantage, falling in the second round to world no. 133 Valeria Savinykh, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3. Sevastova then moved on to Guangzhou in China, entering the Guangzhou International Women’s Open where she once more was presented with the perfect opportunity to go deep in the draw as a number of the world’s top players again opted to stay away. However, Sevastova, would not even make it as far as the week previous, being knocked out in the opening round by South Africa’s Chanelle Scheepers, 5-7, 6-1, 3-6. It has been a frustrating year for the 22-year-old who has failed to live up to the expectations placed on her following her round of 16 appearance at the Australian Open in her opening tournament of the season in January. Since then, she has exited in the first round in 10 of the 16 tournaments she has entered.
Despite failing to make the trip to Kaunas with the German team at EuroBasket, Chris Kaman may now be going there on his own account. The Los Angeles Clippers center was an outstanding addition to the German squad at EuroBasket and arguably outshone his fatigued superstar teammate Dirk Nowitzki, averaging 15.5 points and 10 rebounds across eight games. His game play did not go unnoticed, particularly by the deep pockets of Zalgiris Kaunas owner Vladimir Romanov, who has already signed two NBA players in Ty Lawson and Sonny Weems until the NBA lockout comes to a conclusion. Now rumors abound that the club has also approached Kaman, but for his part Kaman is remaining tightlipped about the speculation. Should they acquire the services of Kaman, Zalgiris will arguably be fielding one of the most threatening teams in Europe and will be amongst the favorite teams to make it to the final four of the EuroLeague. However, it is a big gamble that the team is taking by filling their team with NBA players. Should the lockout come to an end any time soon, the team may be left without any real depth with the majority of European-based talent being picked up by other teams.
Following the success of EuroBasket, Lithuania is now bidding to host the men’s basketball Olympic Qualifying Tournament that will take place in July 2012. The tournament will bring together New Zealand, Russia, Macedonia, Lithuania, Greece, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Angola, Nigeria and two yet to be confirmed teams from the Asian qualifying region. According to lithuaniabasketball.com, Lithuanian Basketball Federation president Vladas Garastas has confirmed that the Federation is in talks with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) about hosting the tournament at a cost of approximately two million euros. The sum has been arrived upon after Venezuela said they would be willing to pay 1.5 million euros to host the tournament with Garastas, justifying his bid by telling journalists, “I want to ask all the critics if they want Lithuania to participate in the Olympics. No one can object to that. I would then add: where will it be easier to qualify – in Lithuania or in Venezuela?”