AO 2015: Murray and Nadal in Federer's half - UBITENNIS
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AO 2015: Murray and Nadal in Federer’s half



TENNIS AO 2015 – The Main Draw of the Australian Open men’s tournament which starts on Monday 19th January in Melbourne was held today. Last year’s finalist Rafa Nadal will face a very tough path and may clash against Tomas Berdych in the quarter finals and Roger Federer in a possible blockbuster semifinal. Federer may face Andy Murray in the quarter finals. Novak Djokovic could clash against Milos Raonic in the top-half quarter. Last year’s Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka could battle against either Kei Nishikori or David Ferrer in the quarter finals Diego Sampaolo


AO 2015 men’s draw

AO 2015 women’s draw

First quarter: World Number One and four-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic will open his campaign against a qualifier before facing the first tough test against Fernando Verdasco in the third round before a possible fourth round match against either John Isner or 2014 ATP Most Improved Player Roberto Bautista Agut. In the opening round the Spanish player will play against Austrian rising star Dominic Thiem, who reached the fourth round at the 2014 US Open and is currently leading the new generation’s challenge against the old guard.

Djokovic will be bidding to win his fifth Australian Open title after the wins in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and the eighth Grand Slam in his career which also features two wins at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014 and the US Open in 2011. Should he win his fifth title Down Under, he would become the most successful male player at the Australian Open in the Open Era. He is currently second most successful player in the Australian Open history together with Roger Federer and André Agassi behind Roy Emerson who clinched six titles at Melbourne Park.

He will be looking for a re-match of last year when he was beaten by Stan Wawrinka with 9-7 in the decider in a thrilling five-set quarter final match.

Djokovic withdrew from the Mubadala final in Abu Dhabi against Andy Murray before suffering an upset quarter final 7-6 6-7 4-6 loss against Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic in the ATP 250 in Doha after a very tough match. This was the second loss for Djokovic in 23 matches since the US Open

Djokovic will have to face a possible quarter final clash against Milos Raonic The Serbian player leads 4-0 in his career head-to-head matches against Raonic. Djokovic’s possible rivals in the semifinals will be Wawrinka or Nishikori.

The top-half also features 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro from Argentina. Del Potro will have to face a difficult test against 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz who won the Hopman Cup last week in Perth together with her compatriot Agnieszka Radwanska. The winner of the match between Del Potro and Janowicz will face the always dangerous Gael Monfils who reached the US Open quarter finals last year.

Raonic’s potential fourth round rivals could be Feliciano Lopez, Monfils or Del Potro.

Del Potro, nicknamed the Tower from Tandil, has made his come-back this week in Sydney after being sidelined for one year because of a career-threatening wrist injury. Now ranked Number 338 player in the world, Del Potro played two encouraging matches in his first tournament in Sydney where he beat two tough players Sergiy Stakhovsky in the first round and Fabio Fognini in the second round before losing against Mikhail Kukushkin in the quarter finals.

I did more than what I expected. I played three matches in a row and I played against good players in this tournament, which means a good comeback for me. I didn’t expect to play three matches in a row. We go day by day. It’s dangerous for me if I am looking forward to the next tournaments or the next month. I have to be patient and do my best every day. This is my biggest challenge in my new career”, said Del Potro in Sydney.

Second quarter: The second quarter of the draw could feature a potential quarter final between Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori in a re-match of the 2014 US Open quarter final. Defending champion Wawrinka, who will play against Turkey’s Marsel Ihlan in the first round, could face either Pablo Cuevas in the third round, Aleksander Dolgopolov or Fabio Fognini in the fourth round. Wawrinka will be looking to clinch his second consecutive Australian Open-Chennai double after winning in the Indian Tournament last week for the second consecutive year by beating Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene 6-3 6-4.

Wawrinka could renew his battle against Novak Djokovic in the semifinal in a possible re-match of the epic 2013 fourth round match and the 2014 quarter final. On both occasions they played two very tight five-set matches which came down to the wire. Djokovic won in 2013, while Wawrinka took the re-match in the quarter final in 2014 before lifting his first ever Grand Slam Trophy.

I am happy to be back for sure. I am playing well and have confidence with my game but everything starts from zero again and you have to be ready for two weeks. Against Novak last year changed everything. To finish as the winner, it gave me the confidence and put me in the semifinals there. I was feeling great. It feels great to see the picture of me with the Trophy in the corridor. The first thing I did was to check to see if it was there and if it was a good picture. When you have the picture, it’s always a good picture. Starting the year with a Grand Slam and finishing with the Davis Cup, it was an incredible 2014”, said Wawrinka.

Last year’s US Open champion Nishikori, who reached the semifinal in Brisbane last week, will start his campaign against Nicholas Almagro in a difficult first round before a possible fourth round against David Ferrer, who is always a difficult rival at Grand Slam level. Ferrer got off to a very good start to his 2015 campaign by winning his 22nd career title at the Qatar Open in Doha where he beat Tomas Berdych in the final with 6-4 7-5. It was his first title for Ferrer under the guidance of his new coach Francisco Fogues. It was his first trophy since Buenos Aires in February 2014 and his first ever Doha win in five appearances after losing the 2013 semifinal against Nikolay Davydenko. Ferrer will not have a tough draw as he will face Thomas Bellucci in the first round, Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round and last year’s Shanghai Master 1000 finalist Giles Simon.

Third quarter: Rafael Nadal, last year’s finalist in Melbourne, was drawn against Mikhail Youzhny in the first round before a possible tricky third round match against Lukas Rosol, who upset the Mallorcan legend at Wimbledon in 2012. If he overcomes these difficult hurdles, Nadal could meet either Kevin Anderson or Richard Gasquet in the fourth round and Tomas Berdych in the quarter final. Nadal suffered a surprising first round loss against Michael Berrer in Doha, needs to play matches to get into shape after being undergoing appendicitis surgery on 3rd November.

Nadal will be looking to complete a double Career Grand Slam after losing against Wawrinka last year.

Berdych was drawn in the same section with Phillip Kohlschreiber, Ernests Gulbis and Bernard Tomic. The most intriguing match of the third quarter of the draw will pit Ernests Gulbis and Australian tennis hope Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Fourth Quarter: This is the most interesting section of the draw as it features Roger Federer and Andy Murray who may square off against in a potential blockbuster quarter final. It could be a possible chance for Murray who lost 6-0 6-1 in the ATP Finals in London last November. Federer and Murray were drawn in into the same half as Nadal. There is a possibility that Federer or Murray could face Nadal in the semifinals. Murray’s possible rivals before the fourth round are David Goffin (semifinalist in Chennai last week) and Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round. The young Bulgarian, semifinalist in Brisbane last week, will face a tough debut match against Dustin Brown, a German player of Jamaican origin who beat Rafa Nadal last year in Halle and always produces a spectacular tennis.

Federer, four-time winner at Melbourne in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2012 and semifinalist last year against Nadal, will start against Yen Shun Lu, before facing either in-form Italian Simone Bolelli or juan Monaco in the second round and Croatian rising star Borna Coric in the third round. Coric, the youngest player in the top-100 in the ATP Ranking, who will start against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. Federer could meet either Tommy Robredo, who upset the Swiss legend in the 2013 US Open, or Ivo Karlovic, who upset Djokovic in Doha before losing a hard-fought semifinal against Ferrer last week. In Qatar Karlovic became the third player in history to reach the 9000 aces milestone. With 9092 aces Karlovic is currently ranked second behind Goran Ivanisevic (10183 aces) but he is ranked ahead of Andy Roddick (9074 aces). The second round could feature a very interesting second round match between Karlovic and Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios, who famously beat Rafa Nadal in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2014.

Federer is one of the strongest favourites to win his 18th Grand Slam title after his impressive start to the season in Brisbane where he became the third player in history to reach the 1000th match win milestone after beating Raonic in a fantastic final in three sets with 6-4 6-7 6-4. Only Jimmy Connors (1253 wins) and Ivan Lendl won more matches than the Basel legend. During the Brisbane award ceremony Federer received the Roy Emerson Trophy from Australian tennis legend Roy Emerson. Federer clinched his 83th career title in Brisbane

It was a special day for me, winning a title plus getting the magic number of 1000. This figure means a lot because it’s such a huge number. Just alone to count to 1000 is going to take a while. To get to 1000 match wins in front of such legends as Roy Emerson and Rod Laver means a lot to me. I will never forget this match”, said Federer.

The most interesting first round matches are Del Potro-Janowicz, Grigor Dimitrov vs Dustin Brown, Sam Querrey vs Vasek Pospisil, Jiri Vesely vs Viktor Troicki, Ernests Gulbis vs Thanasi Kokkinakis and Rafael Nadal vs Mikhail Youzhny, Roberto Bautista Agut vs Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfils vs Lukas Pouille and Jeremy Chardy vs Borna Coric. Former World Number 1 Lleyton Hewitt will play against Chinese wild card Zhang Ze.


Roland Garros Daily Preview: Teen Sensations Meet in the Third Round



Coco Gauff this week in Paris (

Third round singles action concludes on Saturday in Paris.


In what could be the first of many battles between two of tennis’ most promising young stars, 19-year-old Coco Gauff will face 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva.  And the top two American men, Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe, take on considerable opposition in Francisco Cerundolo and Sascha Zverev, respectively.   

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s four most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.

Mirra Andreeva (Q) vs. Coco Gauff (6) – Second on Court Suzanne-Lenglen

Gauff is 21-8 on the year despite changes to her coaching team and some continued issues with the mechanics of her game, primarily her forehand and serve.  She was the runner-up here a year ago, losing 6-1, 6-3 in the final to Iga Swiatek.  Coco dropped the first set in her opener, but has easily secured her four sets played since.

Andreeva is ranked 143rd in the world, but she started the year 312th.  She is an excellent 22-2 at all levels, including qualifying.  Mirra has taken all 10 sets she’s played since the beginning of qualifying last week.  The tennis world first took notice of her earlier this clay court season in Madrid, when she upset Leylah Fernandez, Beatriz Haddad Maia, and Magda Linette to reach the fourth round.

On Saturday, I would not be shocked to witness Andreeva upset Gauff.  Coco has not been playing her best tennis of late, going just 3-3 on clay ahead of this fortnight.  And she has the pressure of defending finalist points on her young shoulders.  But Gauff has a big game, and certainly has a huge edge in experience, both of which should be enough to propel her to victory.

Francisco Cerundolo (23) vs. Taylor Fritz (9) – Third on Court Suzanne-Lenglen

It will be quite interesting to see and hear how the French crowd treats Fritz on Saturday after provoking, trolling, and shushing the audience on Thursday evening.  Taylor may live to regret that decision, as the French tennis fans have long memories, and love to involve themselves in matches.  Fritz is now a strong 31-11 this season, and looking to advance to the second week of this tournament for the first time.

Cerundolo is 22-14 this year, and 15-9 on clay.  All three of his career ATP finals have come on this surface, including just last week in Lyon. 

So what will prevail on Saturday: Taylor’s serving prowess, or Francisco’s formidable forehand?  In another first career meeting on the day, I give the American the slight edge.  While the crowd will be against him, he is much more experienced at this stage of a Major.  Prior to this year, Cerundolo was 0-4 in the main draw at Slams.

Bianca Andreescu vs. Lesia Tsurenko – Third on Court Simonne-Mathieu

Andreescu’s victory over Victoria Azarenka in the first round was quite a surprise.  Bianca was just 9-9 on the year, and 0-2 on clay, a surface where she only owns 14 career victories.  She has unfortunately suffered setback after setback since her amazing 2019 season, yet continues to try to fight her way back to the top of the sport.

Tsurenko, a Ukrainian, has been open regarding how hard it has been to play on tour for the last year-and-a-half.  She even withdrew from Indian Wells in March, after having a panic attack which she blamed on unsettling comments from WTA CEO Steve Simon regarding Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.  But Lesia is now a superb 27-8 this season at all levels, and eliminated 2021 champion Barbora Krejcikova in the first round.

Their only prior encounter occurred earlier this year on a hard court in Hua Hin, when Tsurenko was leading 7-5, 4-0 in the semifinals before Andreescu retired from the match.  And on Saturday, I lean towards Lesia to prevail again based on both players’ form this season.

Sascha Zverev (22) vs. Frances Tiafoe (12) – Not Before 8:15pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier

Tiafoe is 23-8 in 2023, and while clay is not his strongest surface, he did win a 250-level title at the start of the clay season in Houston.  Frances was just 1-7 lifetime at Roland Garros before this week, at the only Major where he’s yet to reach the second week.

Of course it was at this event a year ago when Zverev suffered that gruesome, upsetting ankle injury in the semifinals against Rafael Nadal, ending his 2022 season.  He is yet to rediscover his top form this year, with a modest record of 18-14.  But Sascha did claim his first two matches this week in straight sets.

Zverev has dominated their history, with a 6-1 edge.  However, they haven’t played in over 18 months, and Tiafoe and Zverev are both different players than they were in 2021.  Yet on this surface, Sascha should be favored to advance after an extended battle on Saturday night.

Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Elena Rybakina (4) vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo – It’s hard to find two more polar opposite styles: the power of Rybakina, and the grinding defense of Sorribes Tormo.  Neither player has dropped a set to this stage, and Sara took their only previous meeting, two years ago on a hard court in Miami.

Zhizhen Zhang vs. Casper Ruud (4) – Ruud has not repeated his great success from 2022 during 2023, with an 18-11 record to date.  Zhizhen made his big breakthrough earlier this year in Madrid, where he won three consecutive third-set tiebreaks over Denis Shapovalov, Cam Norrie, and Taylor Fritz.  He is the first Chinese man to win a match at the French Open in 86 years, as he and Wu Yibing continue to break new ground for Chinese tennis.

Ekaterina Alexandrova (23) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia (14) – This is the farthest Haddad Maia has ever advanced at a Major.  This is Alexandrova’s sixth time in the third round of a Slam, but she’s yet to go farther.  They’ve played twice before in qualifying for events in 2017, with Beatriz winning both matches.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Xinyu Wang – Swiatek won her first two matches by the same score: 6-4, 6-0.  And Iga is 4-0 in the third round of Roland Garros.  Xinyu is also yet to lose a set, in her best performance at a Major to date.

Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Roland Garros Daily Preview: Alcaraz, Djokovic Face Seeded Opposition on Friday



Carlos Alcaraz on Monday in Paris (

Third round singles action commences on Friday in Paris.


In the top half of the ATP singles draw, which plays on Friday, 11 of 16 seeds have advanced to the third round, making for some blockbuster encounters.  But in the bottom half of the WTA singles draw, which also plays on Friday, only six of 16 seeds remain after two rounds, leaving plenty of room for new names to break through to the second week of this Major.

Throughout the tournament, this preview will analyze the day’s four most prominent matches, while highlighting the other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play begins at 11:00am local time.

Novak Djokovic (3) vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (29) – Court Philippe-Chatrier

Djokovic is now 22-4 on the year, despite his vaccination status and an elbow injury forcing him to miss multiple events.  And despite whatever this thing is taped to his chest.  Novak hasn’t dropped a set through two rounds, and hasn’t failed to advance beyond the third round of this tournament since 2009, when he lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets.

Davidovich Fokina is 19-13 in 2023, and was a quarterfinalist here two years ago.  The 23-year-old is a flashy, emotional, and inconsistent player.  But he’s capable of defeating top players, as he did Djokovic last year in Monte Carlo.

Djokovic claimed their other two meetings easily in straight sets, back in 2021.  And on Friday, the 22-time Major champion is a considerable favorite to prevail again, especially in the best-of-five format.

Lorenzo Musetti (17) vs. Cameron Norrie (14) – Third in Court Simonne-Mathieu

Like Alejandro, Lorenzo is a flashy, uber-talented young player.  But his results are also up-and-down, with a record of 15-12 this season.  The 21-year-old advanced to the round of 16 in Paris two years ago, when he was up two sets against Djokovic before succumbing and retiring two games from defeat.

Norrie is the opposite: a consistent, less glitzy performer.  The British No.1 is 29-10 on the season, and has been one of the ATP’s winningest players the last two seasons.  However, he is 0-2 in the third round of this event, losing to Rafael Nadal and Karen Khachanov the last two years.

Their only prior matchup took place earlier this clay court season in Barcelona, with Musetti coming from a set down to win 6-1 in the third.  But this is another case where the best-of-five format favors the higher seed and more fit player in Norrie, while the slight upset by the Italian and his formidable backhand would not be shocking.

Diego Schwartzman vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (5) – Last on Court Suzanne-Lenglen

Tsitsipas is 27-8 this season, yet is 0-5 in his last five tournament finals, dating back nearly a year.  That includes a straight-set loss to Djokovic in the championship match of January’s Australian Open.

Schwartzman has seriously struggled this year, with a record of 5-16 at all levels coming into this fortnight, arriving in Paris on a five-match losing streak.  However, he has advanced to the fourth round or better at this tournament in four of the last five years, and remains a considerable threat on this surface.

Stefanos leads their head-to-head 4-2 overall, and 2-0 on clay.  And based on recent form, the Greek is a significant favorite on Friday.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Denis Shapovalov (26) – Not Before 8:15pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier

Alcaraz is 32-3 in 2023, and 22-2 on clay.  He’s accumulated four titles, three of which came on this surface.  Carlitos was a quarterfinalist here a year ago, losing in four sets to Sascha Zverev.

It’s been a really rough season for Shapovalov.  The Canadian was 7-9 on the year coming into the French Open, and 1-2 on clay.  And this easily remains his worst Major, with a lifetime record of 4-4, and this third round appearance being his best result to date.

In their first career meeting, the 20-year-old Spaniard is a strong favorite to prevail. 

Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Elise Mertens (28) vs. Jessica Pegula (3) – Both players are yet to drop a set, though Pegula received a retirement from Camila Giorgi after one set on Wednesday.  Mertens leads their head-to-head 2-0, with both matches taking place a few years ago on hard courts.

Karen Khachanov (11) vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis (WC) – Khachanov came back from two sets down in his opening round contest against Constant Lestienne of France, while Kokkinakis survived a grueling five-setter in the last round against Stan Wawrinka.  When they played five years ago on clay in Monte Carlo, Karen prevailed in straight sets.

Kamilla Rakhimova vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Sabalenka is now 31-5 on the year, but is vying to reach the round of 16 in Paris for the first time.  Rakhimova is a 21-year-old who has never advanced to the round of 16 at any Major.  This is a first career meeting between two more players who have not dropped a set.

Lorenzo Sonego vs. Andrey Rublev (7) – Rublev has won consecutive four-setters to reach this stage.  Sonego already took out another seed, Ben Shelton.  These players have split two prior tour-level meetings, with Lorenzo claiming the one contested on clay.

Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Excited’ To Break More Records After Sealing 20th Roland Garros Win

Stefanos Tsitsipas is ‘excited’ to break more records after securing his 20th Roland Garros victory.



Stefanos Tsitsipas (@atptour - Twitter)

Stefanos Tsitsipas is ‘excited’ to break more records as he claimed a 20th victory at Roland Garros.


The Greek progressed to the third round of Roland Garros with a straight sets win over Roberto Carballes Baena.

Tsitsipas’ win was the 51st of his Grand Slam career as well as the 20th victory that he secured at Roland Garros.

Speaking after the win Tsitsipas spoke about the satisfaction he gets when he breaks records, “I am very much in when it comes to breaking records. I get excited when I see personal records being kind of set and broken,” Tsitsipas said in his press conference.

“Of course it’s a great satisfaction to be seeing those stats, because there is so much work behind it, and sometimes it’s difficult to grasp the fact that it all happened so quickly.

“I just wish to keep on going. I wish to be healthy and to be fighting for more titles and breaking personal records but also records that haven’t been set before in tennis, like that serve thing that happened in Madrid was quite cool, actually. I never thought about it. It just happened.”

Tsitsipas will look to gain more Grand Slam wins in the future as he aims for a maiden Grand Slam title over the next two weeks.

The world number five also spoke about how tennis is a psychological sport and how important it is to perform well under pressure, “Well, it’s psychological, I believe, a big important part of the game,” Tsitsipas said.

“As I said, in the tiebreaker, my mind shifted. It changed towards something — well, I wasn’t aiming too much for being conservative, and that led me, that for sure I owe to that, that I was able to win a tiebreaker because of that.

“The psychological state that you’re in when you play is “the” most important thing, and this starts from outside of the court. If you’re able to be in peace and balance before you step on the court, that’s already a big
advantage that you have.

“Of course technical, these are minor things that you can always improve on and are much more controllable in a way and have external force too. But I think if you’re a player that can perform big on pressure moments, that is the thing that is going to just give you a good career in tennis.

“There are a few guys that can play good under pressure, especially in big, tight moments, and you have to have the mental strength of a Navy SEAL to pull it through, in a way. You have to have the physique of a marathon runner, the lungs of a marathon runner.

“You have to have the power of a football player, so back to the hard-work part, there is just so many little components that you have to link up in order to make this unbelievable player where you allow yourself to be unstoppable.”

This is a fascinating insight from Tsitsipas on the psychological work it takes to become a successful tennis player.

Now Tsitsipas looks to use these elements to his advantage as he looks to finally make his Grand Slam breakthrough in Paris.

The fifth seed’s Roland Garros charge will now continue on Friday where he plays Nuno Borges or Diego Schwartzman.

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