Australian Open Day 6: Our Preview and Predictions! - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open Day 6: Our Preview and Predictions!

Milos Raonic faces Viktor Troicki in round three at the Australian Open. Madison Keys faces Ana Ivanovic in the match of the day on the women’s sides. Who are going to be the winners? Who are the favourites? Our preview and predictions for Saturday in Melbourne Park.

Ivan Pasquariello

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In bold players we are choosing as the favourite to win the match.

 

Rod Laver Arena

Barbora Strycova (CZE) vs. Garbine Muguruza (ESP)[3]

Muguruza faces a tough competition in the Czech, but has hardly been challenged so far in Melbourne. The Spaniard should win, but could lose her first set in the tournament.

Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[14] vs. Naomi Osaka (JPN)

Azarenka is the player to beat right now on the women’s side and clearly the favourite to reach the final in the bottom half of the draw with Muguruza. The Belarusian should easily take the match home in straight sets.

Lukas Rosol (CZE) vs. Stan Wawrinka (SUI)[4]

Wawrinka has revealed he will play a major part in determining who the winner of the tournament will be. Rosol has had a good win against Sock, but should surrender in four sets to the 2014 champion in Melbourne.

Madison Keys (USA)[15] vs. Ana Ivanovic (SRB)[20]

Ana faces her real first test in the tournament and shouldn’t be able to pass it. Keys finds her best tennis in Australia, just like she did last year, and should be able to use her forehand and serve to sail through. The Serb has won the only previous match against the American, but that was in 2014 and Madison was yet to break big.

Bernard Tomic (AUS)[16] vs. John Millman (AUS)

Bernard wasn’t incredibly convincing in beating injured Bolelli in four sets in the previous round.But Millman fought for 5 sets in the second round and shouldn’t be able to put up much resistance. Tomic should win in straight sets.

Margaret Court Arena

Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)[21] vs. Karolina Pliskova (CZE)[9]

Makarova has reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam before and can always be a tough challenge to take on for any player. Ekaterina should manage to use her experience to pull out an upset. The head-2-head between the Russian leads 2-0.

Milos Raonic (CAN)[13] vs. Viktor Troicki (SRB)[21]

Match of the day on Margaret Court Arena between Brisbane winner Raonic and Syndey winner Troicki. Milos should be hard to beat for the Serb and should be able to use his serve and attacking game to win in four sets. Troicki has a good game, but has never shined too much in a Grand Slam, having a 4th round as his best result, reached at the French Open and Wimbledon.

Angelique Kerber (GER)[7] vs. Madison Brengle (USA)

Angelique impressed in the previous round, when she was supposed to be challenged by her opponent. The German has a good chance of reaching the 4th round in Melbourne and should win in straight sets.

Joao Sousa (POR)[32] vs. Andy Murray (GBR)[2]

Andy has been flawless so far in Melbourne. It’s hard to think that Sousa will be able to challenge the Brit if Andy continues playing on his level. Murray should win in straight sets.

Varvara Lepchenko (USA) vs. Shuai Zhang (CHN)

Zhang is playing the tournament of her life, after beating both Halep and Cornet in the first two rounds. Before the 2016 Australian Open, Shuai had never won a match in the main draw of a major event in 14 appearances. Now she could go even further and reach the 4th round, beating Lepchenko in three sets.

Hisense Arena

Johanna Konta (GBR) vs. Denisa Allertova (CZE)

Konta is playing free of pressure, despite her splendid run last summer at the US Open. The Brit is in the zone and should be able to win in straight sets against the Czech, being overall just a better player.

Feliciano Lopez (ESP)[18] vs. John Isner (USA)[10]

The head-2-head between the two are tied at 3-3 with an impressive total of 10 tie-breaks played in six matches. Considering the level expressed in Melbourne and the favourable conditions, Isner should be able to seal victory in four sets.

Gael Monfils (FRA)[23] vs. Stephane Robert (FRA)

Another All-French battle for Monfils, who has already showed against Mahut not to be feeling the pressure of having to play against a compatriot. Gael should easily win in straight sets against Robert.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova Wins First Title Since Return From Surgery In Washington

The two-time grand slam champion has returned back to the winners circle following her six-month absence due to injury.

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Former world No.2 Svetlana Kuznetsova saved four match points to defeat Donna Vekic 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, in the final of the Citi Open in Washington.

 

Kuznetsova, 33, fought back against the aggressive play of her opponent. Saving seven out of the 10 break points she faced in the match. Eventually, it was the experience of the Russian that guided her to the finish line as she hit 34 winners to 36 unforced errors to win her first title on the tour since the 2016 Moscow Open.

“It was a difficult week,” Kuznetsova reflected afterwards. “Tennis is always mental, if you lose or if you win, you always gotta stay focused.”

With both players contesting their first final of the season, it was Vekic who battled through what was a roller-coaster and tense opening set. At first, the seventh seed appeared on course to clinch the opener with ease after breaking Kuznetsova in the fourth game as she raced out to a 4-1 lead. Only to be pegged by the 2014 champion. Serving for the set at 5-3, a forehand error rewarded Kuznetsova the chance to break back. Prior to the following point, the Russian complained about the movement of the crowd just as Vekic was about to serve. Then the Croat hit a double fault with the two players exchanging words at the changeover.

Despite feeling hard done by, Vekic soon restored order in the match. As Kuznetsova served for a chance to level 5-5, she pounced one again as the former world No.2 faltered. Recovering from a 15-40 deficit to seal the opening set with the help of a Kuznetsova double fault on set point.

Vekic continued to fight with the help of her of some rapid shock-making. Fending off a break point to nudge ahead 4-3 in the second set. Although Kuznetsova refused to go away. Saving two match points, it was in the tiebreaker where the Russian managed to turn her fortunes around. Vekic missed out on another two chances to win the match, allowing Kuznetsova to nudge ahead 8-7. She was then able to force proceedings into a decider after a Vekic forehand slammed into the net.

Kuznetsova’s resilience eventually wore her opponent down, who was close to tears after the match. Vekic admitted afterwards that she was dealing with leg pain and took a medical time out just before the start of the final set.

A double break in Kuznetsova’s favor in the decider guided her to a 5-0 lead. Enough of a cushion to enable her to close out the match after two-and-a-half hours of play to win her second Washington title.

“I know I’ve been a little bit lucky today,” she said.
“There’s something going on with Washington. I never lose here. I played two times and I won both.”

The victory comes after what has been a testing first half of the year for Kuznetsova. Left wrist surgery forced her to miss six months of the tour. Meaning that she didn’t start the 2018 season until March. Prior to the Citi Open, she had only won four matches in 10 tournaments played. Making her latest triumph even more special.

“Those times I had after the surgery, I had difficulties everywhere — personal, working different things. I switched coaches. I had lots of issues,” Kuznetsova explained. “But still, I rise again, and it’s really good for me.”

As a result of her latest win, Kuznetsova has risen 41 places in 87th in the world. Meanwhile, Vekic has jumped seven places to 37th.

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Davis Cup

Davis Cup Reforms Face Late Opposition As Vote Looms

The proposed Davis Cup reforms have received strong criticism from Tennis Australia and Tennis Europe ahead of this month’s vote.

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David Haggerty (zimbio.com)

The upcoming Davis Cup reform vote has received some strong opposition and criticism from Tennis Australia and Tennis Europe. 

 

The vote is set to take place on the 16th of August, where federations will vote to change the 118 year old format to a one week season finale at the end of the year. The proposed move by Kosmos, has received fierce criticism and will need a two-thirds majority in order for it to be approved.

However with the vote just two weeks away Tennis Australia has been among the federations to oppose these reforms and have pushed this even further as they have wrote a letter expressing their discontent at the idea. The letter has been signed by the likes of John Newcombe, current Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.

The letter raises the following concerns, “We have written and spoken to the ITF President for several months now requesting clarity on the proposal from Kosmos, but this has not been forthcoming,” explained the letter, which is even signed by former ITF president Brian Tobin.

“Very large numbers are being referenced, but there is not enough detail to give us confidence this proposal will genuinely deliver enough additional value to players and the nations to offset the loss of home and away camaraderie and all the local marketing, facility investment and player development benefit that comes with those ties. In the absence of such important information, we have no choice other than to vote against the proposed amendments.”

However Tennis Australia isn’t the only federation to be against this move as Tennis Europe, who represent more than 50 member nations have also expressed their concern at the idea, “I am particularly concerned that there is hardly any information received from the ITF regarding bank guarantees for the proposed US$120 million per year which would be the $3 billion deal over 25 years, according to the original proposal,” President Vladimir Dimitriev explained in a separate letter.

“I have not yet seen a final and feasible explanation on how the business model or the governance structure will be either.”

The ITF do have the backing of Germany and France ahead of the move though with the AGM meeting set to take place in Orlando, Florida between the 13th and 16th of August.

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Serena Williams Withdraws From Montreal Due To Personal Reasons

Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Coupe Rogers in Montreal next week due to personal reasons.

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Serena Williams (zimbio.com)

Former world number one Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Coupe Rogers in Montreal next week as she deals with some personal issues. 

 

The American suffered the worst defeat of her career last week when she lost 6-1 6-0 to Johanna Konta in San Jose. The 23 grand slam champion clearly wasn’t at her best and it now turns out that she had personal problems to deal with as this is the reason for her withdrawal in Montreal next week.

The recent Wimbledon finalist also felt that she could not play Montreal and Cincinnati in back to back weeks as she continues her comeback from pregnancy. The tournament director, Eugene Lapierre, admits that he is disappointed but still recognises the high quality field that is left, “Of course, we are disappointed that Serena will not be joining us, Fans were very much looking forward to seeing her in action,” explained Eugene.

“But beyond the disappointment, the tournament, as a whole, remains a high-level competition. The entire Top 10 is here, along with 22 of the Top 25. There are exciting matches in store from the outset.”

The American was set to play in Canada for the first time since 2015 before withdrawing today. The 23 time grand slam champion has played five events since returning from pregnancy and the results have been mixed as you can see below:

Indian Wells – Third Round

Miami – First Round

Roland Garros – Fourth Round

Wimbledon – Final

San Jose – First Round

Tatjana Maria will now replace Serena Williams in the main draw and the German faces Alize Cornet in the first round.

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