TENNIS – The Draw of The Championships at Wimbledon, which was held today at the All England Club, pit seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and 2008 and 2010 champion in the same bottom half as Rafa Nadal. The two super-stars could meet in a possible blockbuster semifinal. Defending champion Andy Murray has been drawn in the same top half as 2011 Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic. Diego Sampaolo
Possible quarter final: Djokovic vs Berdych
Novak Djokovic, who won in 2011 against Nadal and finished runner-up last year to Murray last year, will meet Andrey Golubev in the first round and either Radek Stepanek or Pablo Cuevas in the second round. Stepanek upset Murray last week at Queen’s and could be a potential threat as he plays well on grass.
Djokovic could meet Vasek Pospisil in the third round and 2011 and 2012 Wimbledon semifinalist Jo Wilfred Tsonga in the fourth round. The Frenchman will play against either Jurgen Melzer in the first round and and US Sam Querrey in the second round.
Djokovic could face 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych in the quarter final. Berdych will start against Romanian Victor Hanescu before a possible second-round match against 2011 Wimbledon quarter finalist Bernard Tomic, Marin Cilic in the third round and Roland Garros semifinalist Ernests Gulbis in the fourth round. The Latvian player will play against Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round and Fernando Verdasco in the third round.
Possible quarter final: Murray vs Ferrer or Dimitrov
Defending champion Andy Murray, who ended a 77-year-old British drought with his last year’s triumph over Novak Djokovic, will start his title defence against Belgian David Goffin. before facing either Pablo Andujar or Blaz Rota in the second round, Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round, either Fabio Fognini from Italy or Kevin Anderson in the fourth round.
Murray is on collision course with 2014 Australian Open quarter finalist Grigor Dimitrov who won his fourth title last week at the Queen’s which added to his previous triumphs in Stockholm, Acapulco and Bucharest.
Dimitrov also reached his first Master 1000 semifinal in Rome but was surprisingly beaten in the first round at the Roland Garros. The young Bulgarian star could face a fourth round match against David Ferrer who who will start his Wimbledon campaign against his compatriot and clay specialist Pablo Carreno Busta
Ferrer could square off against either German Dustin Brown or Marcos Baghdatis in the third round. Brown a crowd entertainer of Jamaican origin, was the big surprise last week in Halle where he beat Rafa Nadal before losing against Phillip Kohlschreiber in a very spectacular and unpredictable match.Ferrer may face Andreas Seppi in the third round if the Italian will be able to beat Leandro Mayer in the first round and the winner of the second round match between Brown and Baghdatis. The match between Brown and Baghdatis promises to be a highly spectacular match.
Possible quarter final: Federer vs Wawrinka
Roger Federer will be looking to avenge his shock defeat in 2013 against Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round. He started his grass campaign with his seventh career title in his “backyard” in Halle. He won 14 titles on grass (7 at Wimbledon and 7 in Halle) and will be chasing his eighth crown two years after his last triumph at the famous All-England Club in Church Road.
The Swiss Maestro will start his campaign against Italian Paolo Lorenzi before a possible second-round match against either Frenchman Julien Benneteau or Gilles Muller in the second round. His potential rival in the third round could be Spaniard Marcel Granollers. He could face Australian 2002 Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt who will make his debut against last year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz in the second round. Janowicz has not played well recently and has won just two matches since February.
Federer is on collision course with his friend and rival Stan Wawrinka in a potential all-Swiss quarter final. This year’s Australian Open champion suffered early exits at the Roland Garros and Queen’s and has had a difficult period since his first clay Master 1000 triumph in the Monte-Carlo final against Federer, will play against Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the first round before potential clashes against Dmitry Tursunov in the third round and either Feliciano Lopez or John Isner in the fourth round
in the second round Lopez could play against Halle finalist Alejandro Falla who thrives well on grass as he showed last week in the Gerry Weber Tournament. Falla famously came very close to upsetting Federer in the first round at Wimbledon in 2010 after winning the first two sets and serving for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set. before Federer edged him 5-7 4-6 6-4 7-6 6-0.
Wawrinka’s build-up to Wimbledon has been hampered by high fever on Monday. He has been advised by doctors to rest.
Lopez is in very good form and was edged by Grigor Dimitrov in a hard-fought final at Queen’s last week. This year he went on to reach the semifinal in Eastbourne. Isner is well-known at Wimbledon as he won a 11-hour marathon match against Nicholas Mahut in 2010.
Possible quarter final: Nadal- Raonic
Rafa Nadal will open against Martin Klizan (winner in Munich on clay last May) in the first round before facing a possible second-round repeat match against Lukas Rosol. The Czech player famously upset the Mallorcan legend in the second round at the All-England Club in 2012. Nadal faced difficulties in the transition from his favourite clay surface to grass suffering a shock defeat last week at Halle against German Dustin Brown. Nadal could meet Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic in the third round and a possible French rival (either Gael Monfils, who reached the quarter final at the Roland Garros or Richard Gasquet, semifinalist this week at Eastbourne)
Nadal’s possible quarter final rival could be Milos Raonic who recently reached the semifinal in Rome and became the first Canadian player to reach the quarter final at the Roland Garros (losing to Novak Djokovic).
Raonic, who will play his first-round match against Australian Matthew Ebden, could face a mouth-watering fourth round match against Japanese Kei Nishikori, who has made a major breakthrough this year reaching his first Master 1000 final in Madrid and winning in Barcelona and lost the semifinal against Federer on grass last week in Halle. Nishikori will open his campaign against France’s Kenny De Schepper who reached the fourth round last year at the All-England Club.
The possible fourth round matches could be: Djokovic vs Tsonga, Gulbis vs Berdych, Murray vs Fognini, Dimitrov vs Ferrer in the top half of the draw and Wawrinka vs Isner, Janowicz vs Federer, Raonic vs Nishikori and Gasquet vs Nadal in the bottom half
Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament which does not stick to the ATP World Ranking to seed the men’s tournament but uses a formula based on grass-court form in the past two years. This means that Djokovic has been seeded the Number One seed ahead of Nadal who was knocked out in the second round in 2012 and in the first round in 2013 and lost in the first match against Dustin Brown in Halle this year.
Murray, who has reached the final two years ago and won last year at the All-England Club, has been seeded Number 3 overtaking Stan Wawrinka who lost in the first round at Wimbledon in the past two years
Simona Halep ‘Happy To Be Back’ Amid Uncertainty Over US Open Plans
The Romanian still has reservations about her future plans after taking her first international flight in five months.
World No.2 Simona Halep admits the prospect of travelling from Europe to America will be ‘mentally tough’ as she ponders whether or not to play at the US Open.
The reigning Wimbledon champion is set to return to competitive tennis in the Czech Republic where she will play her first tournament in five months at the Prague Open. Halep was originally due to make her return in Palermo but withdrew from the event due to ‘travelling anxiety’ despite being assured she wouldn’t have to go through quarantine. Speculation has mounted in recent weeks about if the Romanian would travel to the US Open later this year with the 28-year-old confirming she will make her final decision after Prague.
“I haven’t made the final decision yet,” AFP quoted Halep as telling reporters during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“The travelling from Europe is a little bit tough with changing flights — we don’t have straight flights — so it’s going to be tough for me personally, mentally,” she told a video conference.
“I don’t want to put myself into that stress. As I said I haven’t decided yet, but the conditions are tough for me at this moment.”
Three members of the top 10 on the women’s Tour have already pulled out of the New York major, which will be played behind closed doors for the first time in history. Ash Barty, Kiki Bertens and Elina Svitolina have all withdrawn from the major due to concerns. In comparison, only one member of the top 10 on the men’s Tour, Rafael Nadal, has withdrawn specifically related to COVID-19 concerns.
Prague is Halep’s first international trip after being in lockdown in Romania since February. A country which reported 1,378 new coronavirus cases and 50 new related deaths on Friday in what was their highest 24-hour figure since the pandemic began.
“I’m a bit nervous but things are very controlled here and very safe so I feel safe,” she said upon arrival in the Czech capital.
“I’m happy to be back, I’m happy to be healthy.”
It will be double duty for Halep in Prague. Besides being the top seed in the singles draw, she will also be playing the doubles alongside local favourite Barbora Strycova. Who reached the semi-final of Wimbledon last year before losing to Serena Williams. It is the first time ever the two are playing alongside each other on the Tour.
“I’m sure we will have fun. I’m sure that she will understand if I miss easy balls at the net, and I hope we’ll enjoy it.” Halep commented on their collaboration.
Halep will start her singles campaign against Slovenia’s Polona Hercog.
REPORT: Madrid Open To Be Axed Amid COVID-19 Concerns In Latest Setback For Tennis
Hopes of Spain holding their top tennis event in 2020 are over.
The world of tennis is set to suffer another severe blow with multiple media sources confirming that organisers of Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament will officially cancel their event on Tuesday.
The Mutua Madrid Open will be removed from the 2020 calendar following a meeting involving tournament owner Iron Tiriac. Recently doubts have been cast on the event after local health officials called for it to be suspended due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Although the final decision was up to Tiriac and his team. It had been due to take place between September 12 to 20, following the conclusion of the US Open.
“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez told L’Equipe over the weekend.
Spain has seen their rate of COVID-19 cases rapidly rise since the country ended its lockdown. According to El Pais, the number of cases recorded within 24 hours is eight times the amount compared to 40 days ago. Rising from 334 (June 20) to 2,789 (between July 29 and 30). On Friday July 31st there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.
Held at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open is a key event for both men and women. It is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. Last year each of the singles champions took home €1,202,520 in prize money. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.
The demise of Madrid this year is another setback for what is becoming a rapidly thinning 2020 tennis calendar. Within the past two weeks China has confirmed that they will not be hosting any tournaments this year, Japan’s scrapped it’s premier women’s event and the Italian Open has been advised to not allow any fans to their event this year.
As a result of the latest development, only two WTA clay-court events will take place after the US Open leading up to Roland Garros. They are both set to get underway on September 21st in Rome and Strasbourg. As for the men, Rome will be their only point of call.
Serena Williams leads a high-quality line-up in Lexington
Twenty-three time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will be the top seed at the inaugural edition of the Lexington Open from 10th August 2020 on the same week as the Prague Open. The Lexington Open will be the first US tournament of the US hard court season, which will continue with the Western and Southern Open and the US Open, which will be held in the same venue at Flushing Meadows in New York.
Serena was very close to tie Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles, but lost four times in a Major final after giving birth to her daughter Olympia.
The US legend will play her first match since she hepled the US team beat Latvia in the Fed Cup last March in Everett. There Serena beat Jelena Ostapenko but she was defeated by Anastasija Sevastova.
Williams will lead a star-studded line-up, which features this year’s Australian Open finalist and former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, Aryna Sabalenka, Sloane Stephens, Johanna Konta, Amanda Anisimova and Yulia Putintseva, Ons Jabeur, Victoria Azarenka, Heather Watson and US rising star Cori Gauff.
Sabalenka won two consecutive editions of the Wuhan tournament in 2018 and 2019, in Shenzhen in 2019, the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai in 2019 and the Doha final in 2020.
Stephens won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2017 and reached the final at 2018 Roland Garros. She finished runner-up to Elina Svitolina at the 2018 WTA Finals in Singapore. The US player lost to Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez in Monterrey in her last WTA Tour match before the pandemic.
Amanda Anisimova won her maiden WTA title in Bogotà in 2019 in her first professional tour tournament on clay. Last year the young US player beat Simona Halep en route to becoming the youngest semifinalist at the French Open since 2006. This year Amanda lost to Serena Williams in the semifinal in Auckland last January.
Johanna Konta reached the French Open semifinal and the Rome Final in 2019. The British player enjoyed her best year in 2017, when she won the Miami title and reached the Wimbledon semifinal rising to her best ranking at world number 4.
The Top seed Open will be the first WTA tournament to be played in the United States since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the United States. The Kentucky tournament will feature a 32-player singles draw and a 16-player doubles field.
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