Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 7th of July 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 7th of July 2014

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TENNIS BITS & PIECES – Victoria Duval has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Li Na splits with her coach. The Bryan brothers are stuck at 98. Miami Open changes sponsor. Nole is now qualified for the ATP Finals and who is playing where this week. Joshua Bosco

Victoria Duval

Victoria Duval, 18 year old American who makes her debut in the Top 100 today after reaching the second round of Wimbledon as a qualifier, released a statement through her management company on Friday saying she had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The player revealed she received the news after her first round of qualifying at the grass-court Slam but decided against withdrawing. She went on to qualify for the first time at Wimbledon and also win a first round match against Sorana Cirstea, before losing to Swiss rising star Belinda Bencic in straight sets.

Fortunately it looks like the cancer was caught in its early stages and the prognosis is for a full recovery within a couple of months, according to IMG. The American youngster is the third player to have been diagnosed with the disease in the last four years, after Alisa Kleybanova in 2011 and Ross Hutchins in 2013. Both players then made a successful return to the courts, so we hope for a safe and speedy recovery for Duval.

Li Na splits with coach

On Thursday it was announced that World No. 2 Li Na and coach Carlos Rodriguez had parted ways after nearly two years of collaboration.

The official reason behind the split is that Rodriguez is no longer able to travel around the world with the player as he needs to spend more time at his Beijing-based tennis academy.

Li Na will now try and regain her form and confidence in time for the US Open, which starts on August 25th, after two shocking defeats at Roland Garros (1st round) and Wimbledon (3rd round).

Bryans stuck at 98

The Bryan brothers were denied a 16th Grand Slam title and 99th overall title together on Saturday when they were defeated by unseeded Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock, who were playing together for the first time in their career.

The American doubles legends, who are now 3-4 in Wimbledon finals, will have to win at the US Open in order to keep alive their nine year streak of winning at least one Grand Slam tournament per season.

Sony leaves Miami Open

According to reports, electronics giant Sony has decided against the renewal of its agreement as main sponsors for the Miami Masters. Even though the tech firm is considering staying connected with the Masters and Mandatory Premier event in other ways, the tournament will go by the name Miami Open until it finds a new title sponsor.

It also looks like clothing line Fila opted out of its sponsorship because the tournament is asking $900,000, three times more than their previous agreement.

Djokovic qualifies for ATP World Tour Finals

After reaching the final at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic has become the second player to qualify for the World Tour Finals which will take place at the O2 Arena in London in November. Djokovic joins Nadal who qualified after winning his ninth Roland Garros title last month.

After reaching his ninth final at Wimbledon Roger Federer is 1230 points shy of automatic qualification, while Stan Wawrinka is safely in fourth position and Berdych in fifth. It remains to be seen who will take the last three spots with less than 600 points separating sixth placed Grigor Dimitrov and eleventh placed Milos Raonic with Murray, Nishikori, Ferrer and Gulbis sitting in the middle.

Who’s playing where

While many top players are resting after Wimbledon, some of them are eager to get back on court and will divide themselves between ATP tournaments in Bastad, Newport and Stuttgart.

Carlos Berlocq will travel to Bastad to try and defend his 2013 title at the Swedish Open, but will face tough competition from the likes of David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Fernando Verdasco, Jerzy Janowicz and Jeremy Chardy.

Defending champion Nicolas Mahut will play at the 2014 Hall of Fame Tennis Championship in Newport and the Frenchman will be joined by John Isner, Ivo Karlovic, Lleyton Hewitt, Donald Young and Wimbledon doubles champion Jack Sock. Marcos Baghdatis and Sam Querrey have withdrawn before the start of the tournament.

Fabio Fognini will be both defending champion and top seed at the 2014 MercedesCup in Stuttgart, where he will play alongside Mikhail Youzhny, Roberto Bautista Agut, Feliciano Lopez, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Santiago Giraldo. Marcel Granollers and Denis Istomin have withdrawn before the start.

The majority of top women will also take a break before the difficult American swing, but some of them are willing to play a couple of clay-court tournaments in Europe before flying over to the US.

In Bad Gastein, Austria, we will see defending champion Yvonne Meusburger take on seven other Top 50 players: Sara Errani, Carla Suarez Navarro, Andrea Petkovic, Elina Svitolina, Camila Giorgi, Karolina Pliskova and Flavia Pennetta, the top seed, who received a wildcard for the tournament. Wimbledon semifinalist Lucie Safarova withdrew before the start of the International event.

Today sees the start of the first edition of the BRD Bucharest Open, an International tournament which replaces the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest. Local girl Simona Halep is the top seed but she’ll have to battle past some difficult players like Roberta Vinci, Klara Koukalova, Karin Knapp, Annika Beck and Anna Schmiedlova to become the first champion of this Romanian tournament. Vania King and Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova are among the players who withdrew before the start.

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Roland Garros 2024: Rafael Nadal Faces Alexander Zverev In Blockbuster Opening Round

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev will meet at Roland Garros in the first round with Andy Murray taking on Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

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Rafael Nadal has been drawn against Rome champion Alexander Zverev in the opening round of Roland Garros.

The 14-time Roland Garros champion will most likely be making his last appearance at the event where he has such a great history at.

It’s been a mixed clay court season for Nadal who built gradual momentum in Madrid but suffered an early exit in Rome to Hubert Hurkacz.

Now the Spaniard has been drawn to take on the champion of Rome, Alexander Zverev, in the opening round.

The match is a repeat of the 2022 semi-final where Zverev broke his ankle losing almost a year of his career.

This contest headlines the second quarter of the draw which also features Karen Khachanov, Holger Rune and Daniil Medvedev.

In the other quarter of the top half of the draw, defending champion Novak Djokovic will begin his Roland Garros campaign against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

There is also a potential third round clash with either Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti for Djokovic, who is currently in Geneva gaining extra match practice ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season.

The Serb could have a repeat of last year’s final in the quarter-finals with Casper Ruud as the Norwegian begins his campaign against Jakub Mensik.

In the bottom half of the draw Jannik Sinner plays his first tournament since suffering a hip injury in Rome as he takes on Christopher Eubanks in the opening round.

Sinner could face Cameron Norrie in the third round with the Brit taking on Pavel Kotov in his opening round before playing the winner of the battle of the Grand Slam champions between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Murray and Wawrinka will clash for the fourth time at Roland Garros with Wawrinka leading their head-to-head 2-1 in Paris.

This section also includes in-form players such as Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Tabilo and Rome finalist Nicolas Jarry.

Finally Carlos Alcaraz will begin his Roland Garros campaign against a qualifier before potentially playing Jack Draper in the second round.

Another exciting clash awaits Alcaraz in the third round in the form of Sebastian Korda with Andrey Rublev or Stefanos Tsitsipas being potential quarter-final opponents.

This is the full draw with Roland Garros beginning on Sunday.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Return To Top Four After Winning Italian Open

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Alexander Zverev has clinched his first Masters title since 2021 after downing Nicolas Jarry in straight sets at the Italian Open.

The world No.5 surged to a 6-4,7-5, victory at the Faro Italico to become the 10th player in the Open Era to win the Rome trophy on multiple occasions. He also won the tournament in 2017. Zverev’s latest win was aided by an impressive service display from the 27-year-old who also hit 15 winners against eight unforced errors. He is now 22-1 against players ranked outside the top five at the tournament with his only loss being to Matteo Berrettini five years ago.

“It means a lot. Winning my first (Masters) title and winning my first after my injury in Rome. Rome is a very special place for me,” the new champion said afterwards. 
“I said at the beginning of the week if Rome is the place of firsts for me I’m extremely happy about it. It’s a very special week.” 

Playing in his first Masters 1000 final since 2022, Zverev produced a serving masterclass throughout the opening set with the German winning 20 out of 21 points. In contrast, Jarry experienced more difficult but valiantly fought back with the Chilean saving two straight break points at 4-4. Eventually, the third seed sealed the opener two games later with the help of some costly shots coming from across the court. A deep shot towards the baseline was unsuccessfully returned by Jarry, handing Zverev a set point which he converted.

Continuing to pile the pressure on in the second set, Zverev had a double chance to break for a 3-1 lead but failed to capitalise on that opportunity. The opportunities continued to come and go. Back-to-back double faults from Jarry at 4-5 handed Zverev two championship points but once again he failed to take advantage. Eventually, he sealed victory two games later with the help of a forehand shot that Jarry returned out. Prompting Zverev to raise his hands in delight before later paying tribute to his rival. 

“He’s playing huge. You can see that by the opponents he beat and how he beat them,” he said of Jarry. 
“I told him if he continues playing like that he is going to have many more chances. I’m happy to be the winner.”

As a result of his Rome triumph, Zverev has secured a top-four seeding for the French Open. On Monday he will rise in the PIF ATP rankings to No.4 which will be his highest position since August 2022. During that same year, he sustained a serious ankle injury which sidelined him for months. 

“The focus is on Paris, that’s for sure. but let me enjoy this one for a day or so and then I will have my full focus on Paris,” said Zverev.

Zverev has now won six Masters 1000 titles which places him in joint-ninth on the all-time list along with Daniil Medvedev. 

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Novak Djokovic Accepts Geneva Wildcard Ahead Of Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic has accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva as he looks to improve his form ahead of Roland Garros.

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Novak Djokovic has shockingly accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva.

The world number one hasn’t had the best season so far having yet to reach a final at any of his events this season.

There was hope for Djokovic that his fortunes would change on clay and the Serb started his clay court season by reaching the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo before losing to Casper Ruud.

However Djokovic’s clay court hopes were dashed in Rome as he lost in the third round to in-form Chilean Alejandro Tabilo.

This has meant that Djokovic risks being undercooked for the second Grand Slam of the season at Roland Garros.

Therefore the Serb has had no option but to take a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 in Geneva.

Djokovic will join Casper Ruud, Andy Murray, Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz in next week’s event.

Next week’s appearance will be the first appearance in Geneva in Djokovic who will be the top seed in Switzerland.

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