The Main Draw of Wimbledon took place on Friday. In the top half, Novak Djokovic (1) drew Phillipp Kohlschreiber in the first round and could meet Kei Nishikori (5) in the quarterfinal. Andy Murray could meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (13) in the 4th round and either David Ferrer (8) or Rafa Nadal (10) in the quarterfinal. In the other half, Roger Federer (2) could take on Tomas Berdych (6) in the quarterfinal and Murray in the semifinal. Diego Sampaolo
Defending champion Djokovic is in the same half as newly crowned French Open champion Stan Wawrinka (4) and could face him in the semifinal if they both progress that far. It would be a re-match of the recent Roland Garros final. The Serbian World Number 1 opening round match is not an easy proposition as Kohlschreiber is an experienced tour veteran and has had success on grass here at Wimbledon getting to the quarterfinal round back in 2012. Kohlschreiber can also take comfort in knowing that he has beaten Djokovic before at a major back in 2009 French Open.
If Djokovic gets out of the 1st round, it is virtually smooth sailing henceforth through to the semifinal. His next round opponent is the winner of the Lleyton Hewitt v Jarkko Nieminen. Both Nieminen and Hewitt are playing their final Championships here as they set to retire at the end of the year. Possibly lurking for Djokovic is Kevin Anderson (14) in the 4th round which really should be an easy confrontation for him. This draw definitely makes it very possible for Djokovic to defend his title here to equal his coach Boris Becker and john McEnroe as three-time Wimbledon champion after his titles in 2011 and 2014.
Nishikori will start against Simone Bolelli (quarterfinalist in Nottingham this week) in a re-match of last year’s five-set match won by the Japanese player. Nishikori could meet either Santiago Giraldo but he will not face many tough obstacles until the 4th round. Wawrinka, 2-time major champion will face Joao Sousa in the first round for the second year in a row at this tournament. Wawrinka could meet Milos Raonic (7) in the quarterfinal. The Canadian could face a tough draw against Nick Kyrgios (26) in the third round and Grigor Dimitrov (11) in the fourth round
The other members of the “Big Four Club” Federer, Murray and Nadal were drawn in a very tough bottom half which also features 2010 Wimbledon finalist Berdych and 2-time semifinalist (2011-12) Tsonga who recently returned to a major semifinal earlier this month in Paris. Wimbledon champion (2008, 2010) Nadal, who has dropped to 10 in the ATP Rankings, could face 2013 Wimbledon champion Murray in the quarterfinal match. The winner could meet seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer in the semifinals.
Murray will start his Wimbledon campaign against Mikhail Kukushkin before meeting either Robin Haase or Alejandro Falla in the 2nd round. Murray is looking very confident having won his 4th Queen’s Club title a week ago. Tsonga will play against Gilles Muller from Luxemburg in one of the most interesting first round matches. This section of the draw features Aleksander Dolgopolov who could meet Ivo Karlovic (23) in the 2nd round.
Nadal won his first grass title since Wimbledon 2010 in Stuttgart but lost in the 1st round against Dolgopolov at the Queen’s the following week. He will open his Wimbledon campaign against Thomaz Bellucci. Nadal despite being a 5-time finalist has struggled in London since 2011. The last three years here has seen the 14-time major winner with a 4-3 record. He comes into this 3rd major of the year with only 2 ATP 250 titles under his belt and no major final appearance. His success here is not a guarantee.
In the fourth quarter of the draw Berdych will play a tough first round match against France’s Jeremy Chardy and the winner of the match face Ernests Gulbis or Lukas Rosol in the 3rd round. Federer will start against Damir Dzumhur in a re-match of this year’s third round match won by the Swiss Maestro in three sets. Wimbledon will be Federer’s best chance to win his 18th Grand Slam title. Last week he won his 8th Halle title beating Andreas Seppi in the final.
Intriguing Team-Ups Lure Eyes Doubles’ Way. Will They Stay For The Problems, Too?
Will the recent surge in high-profile double partnerships have any impact on the long term future of the discipline?
In one of his press conferences at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Andy Murray said he would not be playing the US Open. His announcement came a day or so after his initial declaration that he would be playing only the two doubles events in the final Major of the season. A few things came out of Murray’s remarks. The first and the obvious was that the former world no. 1 was ready to give it his all (yet again) to play singles. The second, the understated aspect, was that doubles while seeming easy vis-à-vis singles required just as much focus, if not more. Then, there was a third.
In tennis’ continuity though, the relevance of the doubles game is not a recent epiphany. However, the last few tournaments of the 2019 season that featured some eclectic partnerships – Stefanos Tsitispas and Nick Kyrgios, Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez, the Pliskova twins, Andy and Jamie Murray, and so on – has made doubles slightly more prominent than singles.
Singles has become monotonous with the same set of players making it to the final rounds. On the other hand, doubles has brought in more verve to the existing status quo of the Tour, with each player’s individuality adding to the dynamics of the team. After his first outing as Kyrgios’ doubles partner at the Citi Open in Washington in July, Tsitsipas pointed this out.
“It’s the joy of being with a person who thinks differently and reacts differently. I would characterise him (Kyrgios) as someone who likes to amuse. I’m very serious and concentrated when I play, but he just has the style of speaking all the time. It’s good sometimes to have a change,” the Greek had said.
These changes – as seen with Murray’s recent decision – may not extend for a longer period. The culmination of these short-term team-ups does – and should – not mean the end of the road of doubles piquing attention, per se. At the same time, these transitory partnerships also reroute the discussion back to the financial side of the doubles game.
In a recent interview with Forbes, Jamie Murray – a doubles specialist – shared how conducive it had become for players to take up doubles as the sole means of a tennis career these days, as compared to in the past.
“Because the money is always increasing in tennis, it is a much more viable option to go down the doubles route a lot earlier than previous generations. Before, people would play singles and then when their ranking dropped, they played an extra few years of doubles. Now it is a genuine option to start off much younger and have a career in doubles,” the 33-year-old said.
Despite Murray’s upbeat attitude, these increases have not exactly trickled towards doubles, especially at the Slams including the upcoming edition of the US Open. For 2019, the USTA showed-off yet another hike in the prize-money coffer. The men’s and women’s singles champions will be awarded $3.8 million. In comparison, the men’s and women’s doubles teams winning the respective title will get $740,000. This sum gets further diluted for the mixed-doubles’ titlists who will get $160,000 as a team.
This is the third and final takeaway that emerged from Murray’s US Open call. For several of these singles players, intermittent doubles play is an option. For those who play only doubles, that is the only option they have. The doubles game requires similar effort – travel, expenses and fitness – the costs continue to outweigh the benefits. These momentary team formations are a gauge revealing the disparity of tennis’ two sides, visible yet obliviated beyond tokenism.
Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career
Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.
Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.
Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.
Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.
“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.
Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.
“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.
David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati
David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.
Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.
The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.
Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open 2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.
Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.
“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”
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