The Australian Open is set to begin tomorrow, though it is not a draw filled with names like Roger Federer, or Novak Djokovic. Instead, the Australian Open Qualifying event is starting. Here the names are a mixture of young talent, on their way up, players trying to have mid-career success, or veterans trying to stay in the games as long as possible. Some names like Radek Stepanek, and Dustin Brown will be familiar. Others like Duckhee Lee, Taylor Fritz, and Oliver Anderson might just become familiar.
The toughest draw in Australian Open Qualifying probably belongs to twenty-first seed Jared Donaldson. As a seeded player, he was entitled to believe that he would receive a favourable draw for at least the first two rounds. What he got instead was nightmare first round as he faces another young American star in Francis Tiafoe.
Qualifying top seed Luca Vanni faces an unpredictable match against Britain’s Dan Evans. Evans actually leads the head-t0-head having won the inaugural meeting at a futures event six years ago. That also took place on a hard-court. The third-round seed for Vanni or Evans is Bjorn Fratangelo, who must likely defeat teenage sensation Duckhee Lee in round two.
Third seed Tim Smyczek, who successfully qualified last year before losing to Nadal in the second round, have a favourable draw, with Kenny de Schepper the biggest name in his section. Likewise fourth seed Alejandro Falla, who might have to face recent ATP quarter-finalist Thomas Fabbiano in the third-round.
Fifth seed Jan Lenard-Struff’s section includes Tour veteran Radek Stepanek, Marinko Matosevic, and Alejandro Gonzalez. Sixth seed Lukas Lacko could face Mirza Basic, who enjoyed a strong finish to 2015.
Seventh seed Marsel Ilhan has a tough draw, with Aleksander Nedovyesov, Aldin Setkic and Ryan Harrison making stiff competition. Eighth seed Go Soeda must face the likes of Maximillian Marterer, Alexander Kudryavtsev, and likely the winner of the Tiafoe/Donaldson clash to progress.
Beginning with the bottom half of the draw, Michael Berrer, who reversed a career retirement decision last year, starts against Tristan Lamasine. All eyes will be on his second-round match though, as that could include Taylor Fritz, who starts against Hiroki Moriya. Norbert Gombos has a tricky path to meeting either Berrer or Fritz, as he has to face the winner of Mischa Zverev or Andrea Arnaboldi’s encounter, if he beats Roberto Marcora.
Tenth seed Radu Albot starts against Jan Mertl, and could face German Daniel Brands in the third round. Three Frenchman feature in that section. Eleventh seed Edouard Roger-Vasselin starts with Zhe Li of China, and his projected seed for the final round, Gastao Elias, has a very tough start against Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Yuichi Sugita and Dennis Novikov make up the final seeds of the third quarter, with Ante Pavic and James Ward, who starts against Peter Polansky, also featuring.
Tatsumo Ito has a nice draw, as his seeded third-round opponent Andre Ghem, is more suited to clay events than hard-courts. However, Oliver Anderson, who recently defeated Dennis Novikov and Tim Smyczek also features here.
Kimmer Coppejans and Igor Sijsling have some tough matches to negotiate if they are to meet in the final round. Alex Bolt, Karen Khachanov, and Grega Zemlja are all names capable of springing a shock.
Dustin Brown and Konstantin Kravchuck have a good chance of meeting, as the only name in their section likely to cause trouble is Andrey Golubev.
The final section sees home hope John-Patrick Smith start against Michael Linzer. He could eventually face young Swede Elias Ymer, who plays Renzo Olivo first.
Selected first-round matches with predictions in bold
(1) Luca Vanni vs Dan Evans
(3) Tim Smyczek vs Jose Pereira
Henri Laaksonen vs (24) Alejandro Gonzalez
Francis Tiafoe vs (21) Jared Donaldson
Taylor Fritz vs Hiroki Moriya
Pierre-Hugues Herbert vs (20) Gastao Elias
(12) Yuichi Sugita vs Ante Pavic
James Ward vs Peter Polansky
(13) Tatsumo Ito vs Marton Fucsovics
Stefanos Tsitsipas Names His Best Personality Trait Ahead of Wimbledon Showdown With Kyrgios
The Greek has named one ‘defining aspect’ of her personality but will it have any relevance for his next match?
Stefanos Tsitsipas says he is ‘thrilled’ to book a Wimbledon third round meeting with Nick Kyrgios later this week after seeing off Jordan Thompson in straight sets on Thursday.
The world No.5 rallied his way to a 6-2, 6-3, 7-5, over Thompson to record only his fifth main draw win at the tournament in his career. Despite his accolades on the Tour, Tsitsipas has endured disappointment at The All England Club. In his four previous appearances, he lost in the first round three times.
Nevertheless, the Greek appears to be heading in the right direction on the grass after winning the Mallorca Open less than a week ago. Although he will be truly tested on Saturday when he faces the dangerous Kyrgios who he lost to in Halle earlier this year after winning the first set. Kyrgios produced a clinical performance in his second round match which he said was a message sent to media criticism him.
“Nick has more matches on me in these courts. He claims to like grass. I think his game is good for the grass,” said Tsitsipas.
“I am definitely thrilled to be facing him. I respect him a lot, on the court, what he’s trying to do. Although he has been a little controversial in the past, I think he’s playing good tennis.’
“I’m going to try and concentrate on doing my thing and pay attention to my own game from start to finish. Hopefully I can stay there and do something great, have a great competitive match against him.”
Kyrgios’ talent has never been disputed but it is his mentality which has at times been his downfall. In his first round match, he was aggravated by the crowd, argued with a match official and spat in front of some people in the stands who were ‘disrespecting’ him.
As for Tsitsipas, the 23-year-old believes his mental strength is one of his best personality traits.
“My mentality is pretty strong. If I fall, I’ll always get up and work hard. I never really have these days where I’m saying, I don’t want to practice today,” he said
“I feel like other players would have that a bit more often than I do. If I fall, I always get up, one thing to get stronger.”
It remains to be seen if Tsitsipas will come back stronger against Kyrgios as he seeks revenge for his recent loss. Although he has lost to the Australian on two other occasions with his only victory in their rivalry being at the Laver Cup.
“You just go out on the court hoping to have a good match, hoping to be able to get balls back, be precise with your shot selection. That comes with good preparation. The rest will hopefully follow if you’re able to approach that with the right mindset.” Tsitsipas explained.
Tsitsipas is the only seeded player remaining in his section of the draw after two rounds played.
Andy Murray, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer form dream team for London’s Laver Cup
Build-up to September’s Laver Cup has already begun and some big names are set to feature.
Andy Murray’s Wimbledon may have come to a disappointing end yesterday, but there is hope on the horizon yet.
It was announced shortly before his second-round encounter with John Isner, that the three-time Grand Slam champion has signed up to play in September’s Laver Cup.
This would mark Murray’s first appearance in the competition.
Being a home tournament for the Brit, fans will be hoping and praying he stays fit for September’s showpiece at the O2 Arena.
Team Europe assembles dream team
With the confirmation of tennis legends Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, the addition of Murray adds more stellar firepower and history to Europe’s cast.
With three of six confirmed, who could the other three names be?
Surely, teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz should be given a place at the table.
The Spaniard has taken the ATP Tour by storm this season, winning not one but TWO Masters 1000’s in Miami and Madrid.
He also became the youngest member of the top ten since you guessed it, his idol Nadal.
Another strong contender would be Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.
Having spent three months out with a hand injury, he stormed to titles in Stuttgart and Queen’s proving to be the season’s standout player on grass.
He unfortunately had to pull out of Wimbledon on the eve of his first-round match after contracting Coronavirus.
If fit, he would be a worthy addition after debuting at the event last year.
The romantics would love for another big name in Stan Wawrinka.
The Swiss is well and truly in the twilight of his career.
Like Andy, he has won three Grand Slam’s and would be warmly welcomed by close friend Roger, who he won the 2008 Beijing Olympics doubles gold alongside.
And then there’s Marin Cilic who was in fine form to reach the semi-finals of the French Open, making him only one of five active players to reach all four Grand Slam semi-finals.
The former US Open champion played in the inaugural Laver Cup back in 2017.
Team World – Diego Schwartzman, Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger Aliassime confirmed
The challenge of Team Captain John McEnroe is that his counterpart, Bjorn Borg has a wealth of talent at his disposal.
Whilst, the American doesn’t quite have the same luxury.
Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman and Indian Wells winner Taylor Fritz were the first two confirmed names.
Canadian talents Felix Auger Aliassime (confirmed) and Denis Shapovalov (not yet confirmed), are the standout names that Team World will bolster their ranks with.
That would then leave two places left with McEnroe likely to call on past stalwarts from previous editions.
This could be 37-year-old Isner, who was highly impressive in defeating Murray yesterday at Wimbledon.
Meanwhile, the seven-time Grand Slam champion is a known fan and admirer of the feisty Nick Kyrgios.
The two big servers could therefore be the final names.
Other possibilities would be American’s Frances Tiafoe, who has played the Laver Cup before, and the talented Sebastian Korda.
Following the announcement of Murray, more confirmations cannot be far away.
Spain’s Bautista Agut Latest Player To Test Positive For Covid At Wimbledon
It is understood that The All England Club is reviewing their Covid-19 policy amid fears of an outbreak.
This year’s Wimbledon men’s tournament has had a third seeded player forced to pull out after testing positive for COVID-19.
Roberto Bautista Agut, who was the 17th seed in the draw, has withdrawn from his second-round match against Daniel Elahi Galan which was set to get underway on Thursday afternoon on Court Three. Announcing his decision on Twitter, the Spaniard said his symptoms are ‘not very serious‘ but he believes not playing is the right thing to do.
“Today I have notified Wimbledon of my withdrawal. I have tested positive for Covid-19. Fortunately, the symptoms are not very serious but I think it is the best decision (not to play).” Bautista Agut wrote.
“I hope to be back soon.”
The 34-year-old was making his eighth main draw appearance at The All England Club this year. In 2019 he reached the semi-finals in what is his best-ever result at a Grand Slam tournament to date.
Earlier this week Marin Cilic and Matteo Berrettini also withdrew from Wimbledon after positive Covid tests. However, they hadn’t played their first round match which Bautista Agut did. The trio of cases raise fears of a possible outbreak in the tournament given how contagious it can be.
Wimbledon’s Covid-19 policy is made in conjunction with advice issued by local health officials. Although it is unclear if a player is required to withdraw from an event if they have the virus. Ubitennis asked a spokesperson for clarity on the matter but was instead given a generic statement.
As a major event we have and continue to work in conjunction with the UK Public Health Security Agency and our Local Authority,’ An All England Club spokesperson said via email on June 26th.
“As a major event we have and continue to work in conjunction with the UK Public Health Security Agency and our Local Authority.
“We have maintained enhanced cleaning and hand sanitising operations, and offer full medical support for anyone feeling unwell. We are following UK guidance around assessment and isolation of any potential infectious disease.
“Our player medical team also continue to wear face masks for any consultation.”
The Guardian has reported that a review of Wimbledon’s guidelines is underway. This was before Agut said he had also contracted the virus. However, there has been no formal announcement concerning any review.
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