Caroline Wozniacki suffers another heartbreak with 1st round defeat - UBITENNIS
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Caroline Wozniacki suffers another heartbreak with 1st round defeat

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TENNIS FERNCH OPEN – To be Caroline Wozniacki right now must be a very difficult prospect. She was publicly dumped by her famous ex-fiancé, Irish professional golfer Rory McIlroy last week and she was just ousted in the 1st round of the French Open by Yanina Wickmayer. Cordell Hackshaw

 

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

To be Caroline Wozniacki right now must be a very difficult prospect. She was publicly dumped by her famous ex-fiancé, Irish professional golfer Rory McIlroy last week. His official statement on the matter was jarring and almost a proverbial slap in the face for the Danish tennis star. Adding insult to injury, McIlroy won the prestigious BMW PGA Championships making headlines this weekend whilst Wozniacki, the 13th seed, was just ousted in the 1st round of the French Open in spectacular fashion. Much would be made of the Dane’s defeat especially as she literally wore her heartache on her sleeve. Her outfit for the match was coincidentally the Irish colours; green, white and orange. However, like her recent relationship, she found no luck with the Irish. Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium knocked her out 7-5 4-6 6-2 in just over two hours.

Despite the fact that Wozniacki owns a 6-1 lifetime record against Wickmayer, this was bound to be a very difficult match. Wozniacki is also nursing a knee injury to go along with her bruised heart. Nonetheless, the Dane did start the match well. She knows the Wickmayer game and so steered towards the Belgian’s weak backhand. Wozniacki soon had triple break points. She converted on the 3rd one and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. However, Wickmayer showed that she learned a few times from her “new coach” fellow Belgian, retired 4-time major winner Kim Clijsters who has had great success against Wozniacki. Wickmayer broke back and got to 2-2. Wozniacki broke her once more and matters mostly flip-flopped between the two players for most of the set. Wozniacki does not have any big weapons but she is a great defensive player as well as patient. Her opponent possesses a huge forehand but was prone to misfire on that shot as she became increasingly impatient and erratic. This allowed Wozniacki to serve for the set at 6-5. However, Wickmayer broke again to force the tiebreaker where she quickly raced to a 6-3 lead and closed it out on her serve 7-6(5).

Wickmayer became a different player in the 2nd set as she took more calculated risk and appeared to be more confident on her backhand which was under constant scrutiny. They remained on serve till the 10th game when Wozniacki increased the pressure on Wickmayer who was serving to stay in the set 4-5. Wozniacki converted her first set point 6-4 to take matters to a 3rd set. In the 3rd set, Wickmayer finally found the right balance of controlled aggression and wrest control of the match. Wozniacki was serving poorly as she barely won points on her serve; 8/22 for the set. Wickmayer quickly broke her to open the set and was soon ahead 4-2. She broke Wozniacki for the 3rd time in the set for 5-2 and served it out 7-6 4-6 6-2 for a place in the 2nd round.

After the match, Wozniacki stated that she will not answer any questions regarding her personal life in the press conference. She offered up this explanation for her performance instead “I just tried to prepare the best that I could, and really tried to focus on my match and on what I had to do out there … [I]t doesn’t make it easier that I haven’t been able to play really that many matches because I have been injured … I felt a little bit rusty out there, and, you know, it wasn’t really a pretty match.” Wickmayer faces Silvia Soler-Espinoza of Spain in the 2nd round. Wozniacki will now have an early start for preparation for Wimbledon.

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Tokyo Olympics Daily Preview: Nine Major Singles Champions in Action on Monday

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A look at one of the outer courts at Ariake Tennis Park (twitter.com/ITFTennis)

The second round begins on Day 3 in both singles and doubles, with fascinating matchups throughout the day all around the Ariake Tennis Park.  Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are the headliners of this tennis event, and both will again be considerable favorites on Monday.  But the most inspirational story of this event is Carla Suarez Navarro, who on Sunday earned her first singles win since announcing she is cancer-free just three months ago.  In the second round, she faces Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova.  On the men’s side, 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic required an astounding 11 match points to advance in the first round.  Now he’ll take on Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, who just a week ago won the biggest title of his career in Hamburg, Germany.

 

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

Karolina Pliskova (5) [CZE] vs. Carla Suarez Navarro [ESP] – Third on Court 3

Suarez Navarro played singles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, but went down in three sets during the first round of both events.  Yet on Sunday against Ons Jabeur, one of 2021’s best players, Carla earned her first singles victory since coming back from fighting Hodgkin Lymphoma.  On Monday, she faces the WTA’s “Ace Queen,” who bounced back nicely from the disappointment of losing her second Major final by winning comfortably on Sunday.  Pliskova’s former coach Rennae Stubbs highlighted on NBC’s coverage how Karolina, one of the tallest players on tour, will not mind the high-bouncing conditions on the courts in Tokyo.  Their head-to-head has been rather even, with Pliskova holding a slight edge 4-3.  However, Karolina has claimed their last three meetings, dating back to 2015.  Pliskova’s level can fluctuate from day-to-day, and you certainly don’t want to underestimate the fight of Suarez Navarro, but the fire power of the fifth seed will be tough to overcome.

Pablo Carreno Busta (6) [ESP] vs. Marin Cilic [CRO] – Fourth on Court 1

Carreno Busta may be the seeded player, but he’s never beaten Cilic, who is 4-0 against the Spaniard.  Three of those four victories came on hard courts.  Marin has struggled in recent years, but rediscovered some strong form a month ago grass.  Cilic was the champion in Stuttgart, and was two sets up on Daniil Medvedev at Wimbledon before losing in five.  Hard courts have not been as friendly to Cilic of late, but Carreno Busta has exceled on this surface.  Pablo has reached the semifinals of the US Open twice in the last four years.  Both men have previous success representing their countries: Cilic helped Croatia win the Davis Cup in 2018, with Carreno Busta doing the same for Spain a year later.  But in tight matches, Pablo has been the far better performer over the last few years, and is a slight favorite to earn his first win over Marin.

Other Notable Matches on Monday:

Novak Djokovic (1) [SRB] vs. Jan-Lennard Struff [GER] – Djokovic is 5-0 against Struff, dropping only one of 14 sets played.

Naomi Osaka (2) [JPN] vs. Viktorija Golubic [SUI] – Osaka looked pretty sharp in her opening round on Sunday, her first match in 56 days.  28-year-old Golubic was a surprise quarterfinalist earlier this month at Wimbledon.

Daniil Medvedev (2) [ROC] vs. Sumit Nagal [IND] – On Saturday, Nagal became the first Indian man to win a singles match at the Olympics since 1996.  Medvedev did not appear to enjoy the heat and humidity during his first round, yet still prevailed in straight sets.

Aryna Sabalenka (3) [BLR] vs. Donna Vekic [CRO] – Sabalenka surrendered only three games in her opening round win.  Two years ago on a hard court in San Jose, she defeated Vekic in straight sets.

Iga Swiatek (6) [POL] vs. Paula Badosa [ESP] – Swiatek breezed through her first round match by a score of 6-2, 6-2, but Badosa is an impressive competitor in the midst of a breakout season, with 27 match wins.

Ash Barty and Storm Sanders (6) [AUS] vs. Yifan Xu and Zhaoxuan Yang [CHN] – Barty did not perform well in her first round singles loss, committing more than 50 unforced errors.  But she and good friend Sanders remain one of the most formidable teams in the women’s doubles draw.

Monday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Kei Nishikori Downs Rublev In Home Olympics Opener, Tsitsipas Survives Kohlschreiber

Kei Nishikori secured a big win at his home Olympics by beating Andrey Rublev.

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Kei Nishikori (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Kei Nishikori opened his home Olympics in Tokyo with a 6-3 6-4 win over 5th seed Andrey Rublev.

 

The former US Open finalist produced some of his best tennis to dominate the Russian to reach the second round.

Nishikori played some sublime tennis in the opening set using some great angles to dictate play.

Despite being broken in the seventh game, the world number 68 broke for a second time to take the opening set 6-3.

The Russian couldn’t outpower the Japanese star as he failed to create a break point in the second set.

A solitary break in the seventh game of the second set was enough as he secured a monumental victory.

After the match Nishikori told the ITF website how great it felt to put in a performance like that, “It’s been a while since I’ve been playing like this,” the 2016 bronze medallist said.

“I was struggling playing Top-10 players the last couple of months, or maybe all this year. This is the first time I’m playing a very solid match, so I’m happy of course beating Rublev, but also happy with my tennis today.”

Nishikori also spoke about playing at home in the Olympics and what that does to his game, “It’s good to be playing at home, especially this site,” Nishikori explained.

“I’ve been playing here a lot – sometimes it feels like home, though with no spectators it’s tough. But I have to enjoy playing here – I know many people are watching on TV, so I just have to focus on what I have to do on the court.”

Nishikori will now face Marcus Giron next who battled past Norbert Gombos in three sets.

Meanwhile Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first male Greek player since 1928 to win a match at the Olympics.

Tsitsipas recovered from a break down in the third set to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 3-6 6-3 in 1 hour and 54 minutes.

Tsitsipas will now look to get revenge for his Wimbledon loss as he plays Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

There were also wins for Diego Schwartzman, Alexander Zverev and Karen Khachanov while the only Brit in singles standing Liam Broady edged past Francisco Cerundolo 7-5 4-6(4) 6-2 in three hours and eleven minutes.

Broady will face 7th seed and Wimbledon semi-finalist Hubert Hurkacz in the second round on Tuesday.

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Andy Murray Prioritises Doubles In Olympic Medal Bid After Singles Withdrawal

Andy Murray has decided to concentrate on doubles at the Olympics after withdrawing from singles.

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Andy Murray (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Andy Murray has prioritized doubles in a bid to win a medal at the Olympic games after withdrawing from singles.

 

The two-time defending gold medallist was due to play Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday but decided to withdraw.

Another heart-breaking decision by Murray after multiple injuries this season and was looking to prove his match fitness after reaching the third round at Wimbledon.

The official reason was a thigh strain and in a statement the Brit revealed that medical staff had advised against playing both singles and doubles, “I am really disappointed at having to withdraw but the medical staff have advised me against playing in both events, so I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the singles and focus on playing doubles with Joe,” Murray said in a statement.

It’s a decision that was tough to make but was a smart decision as Murray looks to win his fourth Olympic medal.

In their first round match Murray and Joe Salisbury convincingly beat second seeds Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut just dropping five games.

Now the British duo will face German pair Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz in the second round.

Meanwhile Auger-Aliassime, who was due to meet Murray, faced Australian doubles specialist Max Purcell.

However the Canadian didn’t fare much better as he suffered a shock exit at the hands of the Australian 6-4 7-6(2).

Purcell will face Dominik Koepfer or Facundo Bagnis in the second round.

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