Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 25th of May 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 25th of May 2014

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WORLD OF TENNIS – Roger Federer 15 years later. Chris Evert celebrates the anniversary of her first title at a Major. The Woodies receive an award. Happy birthday to Melzer, Gabashvili, Fognini and Newcomb. How are the Brits doing in Paris? Joshua Bosco

 

Federer wins after 15 years

On May 25th 1999 a little known Swiss player, ranked No.111 in the world, played his first career main draw match in a Grand Slam tournament. He lost the match, against Pat Rafter, 5-7 6-3 6-0 6-2 and afterwards the Australian said of him “The boy impressed me very much. If he works hard and has a good attitude, he could become an excellent player.” Yesterday, exactly fifteen years after this match, that same boy – Roger Federer – won his 266th career match in a major tournament beating Lukas Lacko 6-2 6-4 6-2.

Chris Evert’s 1st title

Forty years ago former World No.1 Chris Evert won the first of her eighteen Grand Slam titles. At the age of 19 the American won the 1974 French Open defeating Olga Morozova 6-1 6-2.

It wasn’t all bad news for Morozova though as the two then paired up to claim the women’s doubles title beating Gail Chanfreau and Katja Ebbinghaus 6-4 2-6 6-1.

Philippe Chatrier Award 2014

This year the International Tennis Federation’s highest honour, the Philippe Chatrier Award, will be presented to a doubles team for the first time since its introduction in 1996.

Australian legends Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, better known as “The Woodies”, who won 11 Grand Slam titles, will receive the award at the ITF’s world championships dinner held during Roland Garros.

Happy Birthdays!

There were a lot of birthday celebrations last week: Jurgen Melzer turned 33 on Thursday and “celebrated” by losing 6-1 6-1 to Jiri Vesely in Dusseldorf.

On Friday Gabashvili turned 29, Dan Evans celebrated his 24th birthday and Australian legend John Newcombe, who won seven singles and seventeen doubles Grand Slam titles, blew out 70 candles.

On Saturday Fabio Fognini, who will play Andreas Beck in the first round of the French Open, turned 27. Happy Birthday to all of them!

Brit-pack at Roland Garros

A week after winning her second title of the year, British No.2 Heather Watson qualified for the main draw at the French Open defeating Estonian Anett Kontaveit 6-1 6-1 in just 48 minutes.

She joins James Ward – who became the first Brit to qualify for Roland Garros in 41 years after defeating Blaz Rola 12-10 in the third set in a match lasting more than three hours – and World No.8 Andy Murray who will face Andrey Golubev in his first round match on Tuesday.

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Miami Open Daily Preview: Indian Wells Champs Carlos Alcaraz and Taylor Fritz Collide

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Carlos Alcaraz two Sundays ago at Indian Wells (twitter.com/atptour)

On Wednesday in Miami, 2023 Indian Wells champion Carlos Alcaraz faces 2022 champ Taylor Fritz for the first time.

 

Alcaraz is just three wins away from defending his Miami title, which he needs to do in order to remain World No.1.  Wednesday’s other ATP quarterfinal sees Indian Wells semifinalist Jannik Sinner take on Emil Ruusuvuori, who is the first Finnish quarterfinalist at a Masters 1000 tournament in a decade.

In the WTA singles draw, Aryna Sabalenka and Petra Kvitova are one round away from a big-hitting semifinal.  But first, they must get past Sorana Cirstea and Ekaterina Alexandrova, respectively.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Wednesday’s play gets underway at 1:00pm local time.


Ekaterina Alexandrova (18) vs. Petra Kvitova (15) – Not Before 7:00pm on Stadium

Kvitova is 14-5 this season, and has now reached the quarterfinals of both Indian Wells and Miami this month.  Petra has also now advanced to the fourth round or better of this event for the fifth straight time, and has not dropped a set this fortnight.

Alexandrova had a losing record this year before arriving in Miami.  She defeated Belinda Bencic two rounds ago, and advanced in the last round after Bianca Andreescu’s upsetting ankle injury.  This is Ekaterina’s second WTA 1000 quarterfinal, after first achieving that feat last year in Madrid, when she advanced to the semifinals.

Their only previous encounter occurred three years ago at the Australian Open, when Kvitova comfortably prevailed 6-1, 6-2.  Ekaterina does not possess the same offensive weaponry of Petra, so on a hard court, the two-time Wimbledon champion is a considerable favorite to win again on Wednesday.


Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Taylor Fritz (9) – Not Before 8:30pm on Stadium

Alcaraz is 17-1 on the season, despite missing all of January due to injury.  His only loss came to Cam Norrie in the final of Rio, a match in which Carlitos reaggravated his leg injury.  He’s yet to drop a set during this tournament.

Fritz is 20-5 in 2023, and has now reached the quarterfinals or better at his last five events.  This is Taylor’s first quarterfinal in Miami, and his third consecutive quarterfinal as Masters 1000 events in North America.  Like Alcaraz, he’s also yet to lose a set in Miami, but he’s 1-4 in his last five Masters quarterfinals.

This is the first career meeting between the World No.1 and the American No.1.  Fritz certainly has the firepower to threaten Alcaraz on this day.  But based on Carlitos’ recent sharp form, the 19-year-old is the favorite to advance to the semifinals.


Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Sorana Cirstea vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Sabalenka is now a stellar 20-2 on the year, and has allowed her opponents this past week an average of just 2.5 games per set.  Cirstea is having an excellent March, having advanced to her second consecutive WTA 1000 quarterfinal, a stage she hadn’t reached since 2017.  This is another first-time career meeting.

Emil Ruusuvuori vs. Jannik Sinner (10) – Sinner is vying for his second consecutive Masters semifinal, and has not dropped a set thus far in Miami.  This is Ruuuvuori’s maiden Masters 1000 quarterfinal, at the only Masters event where he had ever previously advanced beyond the third round.  Jannik is 4-0 against Emil, with all of those wins in straight sets, except a match in Miami a year ago that went to a third-set tiebreak, and saw Sinner save three match points.


Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Miami Open Daily Preview: Two Matches Between Top 10 Seeds Headline Fourth Round ATP Action

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Taylor Fritz earlier this month at Indian Wells (twitter.com/atptour)

All ATP fourth round singles matches will take place on Tuesday in Miami.

 

And in a rarity, two of those fourth round matches include meetings between top 10 seeds.  2022 Indian Wells champ Taylor Fritz takes on 2022 Bercy champ Holger Rune.  And in a battle of the gingers, Andrey Rublev faces Jannik Sinner.  Other ATP matches on Tuesday include three of the four top seeds: Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Also on Tuesday, the WTA quarterfinals begin.  American No.1 Jessica Pegula will look to avenge a loss her doubles partner Coco Gauff experienced earlier in the tournament to Anastasia Potapova.  And Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina plays Italy’s Martina Trevisan, who took out another Major champ, Jelena Ostapenko, on Monday.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Tuesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Jannik Sinner (10) vs. Andrey Rublev (6) – 11:00am on Grandstand

Rublev is a modest 13-7 this season, but was a semifinalist in Miami two years ago.  He comfortably defeated Miomir Kecmanovic in the last round by a score of 6-1, 6-2.

Sinner is a strong 18-4 this season, and is coming off a semifinal run at Indian Wells.  He was the runner-up at this tournament two years ago.

These two have split four prior meetings, the last three of which occurred on clay.  Their only hard court matchup took place three years ago in Vienna, with Sinner retiring after just three games.  But considering Jannik’s impressive form this season, he should be favored to advance on Tuesday.


Taylor Fritz (9) vs. Holger Rune (7) – 12:00pm on Stadium

Dating back to the end of September, Rune is now 33-8.  The 19-year-old achieved four consecutive finals to end last season, winning two of them (Stockholm, Bercy).  This is his Miami Open debut.

Fritz is 19-5 in 2023, and is vying for his fifth consecutive quarterfinal of the year.  This would mark his seventh Masters 1000 quarterfinal, all achieved since the start of 2021.  But Taylor is 0-2 in the fourth round of this tournament, losing in the past two years to Bublik and Kecmanovic.

In their first career meeting, it’s hard to pick a winner.  Fritz has become a pretty reliable performer, while Rune remains quite a streaky player, with impressive highs and some immature lows.  Both possess similar weapons on court, and neither have dropped a set through two matches.  I’ll give the slight edge to Holger based on his recent hard court success.


Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Martina Trevisan (25) vs. Elena Rybakina (10) – Rybakina has now won nine matches in a row.  Trevisan was only 3-8 on the year ahead of this quarterfinal run.  This is another first career meeting.

Karen Khachanov (14) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (2) – Tsitsipas survived a tight three-setter against an in-form Cristian Garin on Monday, while Khachanov easily dispatched of up-and-coming 21-year-old Jiri Lehecka.  Stefanos is 6-0 against Karen, which includes a four-set victory at this year’s Australian Open.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Tommy Paul (16) – Alcaraz is now 16-1 this season, and has claimed his last 17 completed sets.  Paul is 16-5, and was a semifinalist in Melbourne, as well as a finalist in Acapulco.  Tommy took their only previous encounter, last summer in Montreal, in a three-set match that lasted three hours and 20 minutes.

Jessica Pegula (3) vs. Anastasia Potapova (27) – Pegula has now reached the quarterfinals or better at seven of the last nine WTA 1000 events.  This is Potapova’s first quarterfinal at this level in over two years.  At the last WTA 1000 event, in Indian Wells, Pegula came from behind to beat Potapova 7-5 in the third.

Quentin Halys vs. Daniil Medvedev (4) – Medvedev is 25-3 on the year, and received a walkover on Monday from Alex Molcan.  Halys upset Alex de Minaur on Saturday, and had never won a main draw match at Masters 1000 level prior to this fortnight. 


Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Miami Open Daily Preview: Major Champions Sabalenka and Krejcikova Meet Again on Monday

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Barbora Krejcikova on Sunday in Miami (twitter.com/wta)

All WTA fourth round singles matches will take place on a busy Monday in Miami.

 

2023 Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka and 2021 Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova will meet for the third time in as many events.  Krejcikova prevailed in three sets in Dubai, while Sabalenka prevailed in three sets at Indian Wells.  Who will win the rubber match on Monday?

Meanwhile, ATP third round action concludes on Monday.  Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev are the top seeds on the bottom half of the draw, and are just a few rounds away from a semifinal which would renew a bitter rivalry that started five years ago in this very city.  But many formidable foes, like Felix Auger-Aliassime, Hubert Hurkacz, and Frances Tiafoe, stand in their way.  However, Medvedev’s path has become a bit easier, as he has received a walkover on Monday from an injured Alex Molcan.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Monday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Jessica Pegula (3) vs. Magda Linette (20) – Not Before 1:00pm on Stadium Court

Pegula is 17-5 in 2023, and was a semifinalist here a year ago.  Linette is 12-6, and reached her maiden Major quarterfinal in Melbourne, a feat Jessica is still trying to achieve.  Magda currently sits at a career-high ranking of 19th in the world, and would improve on that with a deep run at this tournament.

In their first career meeting, the American should be favored.  Her consistency, paired with her penetrating groundies, have made her one of the WTA’s toughest outs across the last few seasons.  But Linette has plenty of finesse and defensive skills that could drag more errors out of Pegula, so this could be an interesting contest.


Barbora Krejcikova (16) vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Not Before 8:30pm on Stadium Court

Overall Sabalenka leads their head-to-head 3-1, with all matches taking place on hard courts.  Three years ago in Linz, Aryna was victorious in three sets.  Two years ago at the US Open, she was again victorious, this time in straights.  They’ve also both met many times in doubles, as both are Slam champs in women’s doubles as well.

Sabalenka is now 19-2 on the year, and has dropped only 10 games in her four sets played so far in Miami.  Krejcikova is 15-5, and has also advanced to this stage without dropping a set.

I expect another tight battle on Monday between two of the WTA’s top five performers of the year.  But with her huge serve and groundstrokes clicking, and with all the confidence she’s currently playing with, Sabalenka must be considered the favorite.


Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Cristian Garin (Q) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (2) – Tsitsipas is 11-3 this season, and is yet to play a match this fortnight, as he received a walkover in his opening round from Richard Gasquet.  Having now qualified for both Indian Wells and Miami, Garin has won nine matches between the two events.  But he is 0-2 against Stefanos at tour level, though both matches were on clay.

Felix Auger-Aliassime (5) vs. Francisco Cerundolo (25) – Auger-Aliassime survived a prolonged two-set battle against Thiago Monteiro on Saturday, which lasted nearly three hours.  Cerundolo was a shocking semifinalist here a year ago.  Felix has already defeated Francisco twice this year, at both the Australian Open and Indian Wells.

Elena Rybakina (10) vs. Elise Mertens – Rybakina is 18-4 on the year, and the Indian Wells champ is currently on an eight-match win streak.  She’s already won two three-setters this past week in Miami, and Elena is 2-1 against Elise, having taken both of their hard court encounters.

Hubert Hurkacz (8) vs. Adrian Mannarino – Hurkacz saved five match points against Thanasi Kokkinakis on Saturday night, winning the longest three-set match of the year at tour-level.  Mannarino took out breakout American Ben Shelton in three sets on the same evening.  Hubi is 2-1 against Adrian.

Lorenzo Sonego vs. Frances Tiafoe (12) – Tiafoe loves playing in Miami, as he’s vying for his fifth consecutive fourth round appearance at this event.  Frances overcame a stern test from Yosuke Watanuki on Saturday, but has split two previous matches against Sonego, both of which took place this past fall.


Monday’s full Order of Play is here.

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