Challenger Tour: Three seeds crash out of Santo Domingo on Monday, no shocks on Tuesday - UBITENNIS
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Challenger Tour: Three seeds crash out of Santo Domingo on Monday, no shocks on Tuesday

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Jose Hernandez-Fernandez pulled off a big shock on Monday

The Dominican Republic Challenger in Santo Domingo saw three of the four seeds in action Monday depart from the draw defeated.

 

The biggest shock of the day saw Italian Alessandro Giannessi destroy the woefully out-of-form second seed Horacio Zeballos 6-1, 6-3 for a win that took just over sixty-one minutes.

That may have been the highest ranked seed to depart, but the match of the day belonged to a home favourite. Jose Hernandez-Fernandez, born and raised in Santo Domingo, defeated sixth seed and clay specialist Alejandro Gonzalez 7-6, 4-6, 6-3. The match featured twelve breaks of serve, six apiece. Both men struggled in the opening set, trading three breaks before Hernandez-Fernandez took advantage of errors from Gonzalez in the tiebreak. Gonzalez though, roared back and secured an early break in the second. Hernandez-Fernandez managed to retrieve it, but was broken again at four-all. A quick service hold from Gonzalez would see the seeded player become the favourite on paper once more. But the home crowd rallied Hernandez-Fernandez, and it would be he that struck first in the decider. Gonzalez’s firsts serve win percentage dropped below forty percent and he was broken early. This time it was  who Gonzalez rallied, breaking back, but Hernandez-Fernandez immediately re-took the lead and managed to hold serve for the rest of the set to seal his passage to the third round.

Andre Ghem was the final seeded casualty on the first day, as the Brazilian veteran was upset by Frenchman Maxime Chazal 6-7, 6-4, 6-4. Gerald Melzer, the third seed, was the only one to escape the carnage, as he edged out wildcard Nicolas Jarry 7-6, 6-3.

Moving to Tuesday, there were far fewer shocks to be found. Roberto Carballes Baena (4), Andrej Martin (5), and Joao Souza (8) all made it through unscathed, though Souza did endure a tough three-set battle against Giovanni Lapentti eventually winning 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

Qualifier Roberto Quiroz, who had saved match points in the final qualification round against former Top 30 player Victor Hanescu, continued his run by defeating wildcard Emilio Gomez 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. Quiroz is currently ranked outside the Top 1000.

Jozef Kovalik negotiated a potentially tricky opponent in qualifier Pere Riba 7-5, 7-6 and Calvin Hemery beat Jonathan Eysseric in an all French affair 6-4, 6-2. Other winners across the first round were Nicolas Kicker, Gianluca Naso, Franko Skugor, and Guido Andreozzi.

Wednesday (Second Round) Predictions:

Victor Estrella Burgos vs Gonzalo Lama (1st rd): This match to be completed on Wednesday due to Estrella-Burgos’ title run in Quito. Burgos is not only the top seed at this his home event, but is probably one of the best twenty players in the world on clay. Lama has little chance. Winner: Estrella Burgos in straight sets

Gerald Melzer vs Guido Andreozzi: This is perhaps the match of the day, as Gerald Melzer is just one week removed from his career high ranking of No. 120. Andreozzi though, is one of the toughest unseeded players in this draw, and also beat Melzer for the loss of just three games in their only previous career meeting four years ago. Winner: Melzer in three sets.

Jose Hernandez-Fernandez vs Nicolas Kicker: The home favourite is up against an in-form opponent in Argentine Nicolas Kicker. Hernandez-Fernandez will need to harness the support he received from the crowd if he is to conjure up another upset. Winner: Kicker in three sets.

Franko Skugor vs Alessandro Giannessi: Perhaps the most unheralded names in the second round, both nonetheless had excellent round one wins. Skugor defeated the evergreen Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo, a fomer ATP runner-up on clay, and Giannessi beat a poor Horacio Zeballos. Skugor has a little more experience at this level than the Italian, so I’m would expect Skugor to win this. Winner Skugor in straight sets.

 

Grand Slam

(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) The Wimbledon Clash Between Djokovic And Sinner Could Have Been Better

It was an epic five-set clash but imagine how better the match would have been if both were playing well at the same time…

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Hall of Famer Steve Flink and Ubitennis’ Ubaldo Scanagatta analyse the dramatic events that unfolded on Tuesday at Wimbledon.

 

Top seed Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to oust Jannik Sinner in a match of two halves. Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie brought delight to the British fans.

On the other side of the draw, how will Rafael Nadal fair against the in-form Taylor Fritz? The Spaniard recently sidestepped a question about a potential new injury. 

As for the women’s draw, Ons Jabeur made history by becoming the first Arab player to reach a major quarter-final. She will next play 34-year-old mum-of-two Tatjana Maria who had never been beyond the third round of a major until now. 

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WIMBLEDON: 10 Facts About Semi-Finalist Ons Jabeur

All you need to know about the Trailblazing Tunisian who has created history at The All England Club.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

Second seed Ons Jabeur achieved a new milestone for both her and her country at Wimbledon on Tuesday. 

 

The world No.2 battled back from a set down to defeat Marie Bouzkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the last four of a major event for the first time in her career. Jabeur has now dropped only one set in five matches played and is the highest ranked player remaining in the draw. Her major breakthrough comes seven years after she made her Grand Slam debut at the 2015 Australian Open. 

“I played really good from beginning of the second set, especially having a early break kind of helps me gain confidence,” said Jabeur.
“I know it wasn’t easy playing Marie. She gets all the balls and doesn’t make, to win a point, easy for me. I’m glad I stepped in with my game. I was more aggressive in the second set, and especially tactically I was playing some angles that she didn’t like much.”

To mark Jabeur’s Wimbledon milestone, here are 10 facts to know about her:-

  1. She is the first North African player – male or female – to reach a Grand Slam semi-final. The last woman from the entire African continent to reach a major semi-final was Amanda Coetzer at the 1997 French Open. 
  2. Her win over Bouzkova is Jabeur’s 26th Tour-level win on the grass.
  3. Jabeur has now won 83 matches over the past two seasons. This is more than any other player on the WTA Tour. 
  4. Has won 21 out of her last 23 matches.
  5. She is the only Tunisian woman currently ranked in the world’s top 700.
  6. Jabeur had failed to win back-to-back matches on her three out of her four previous appearances at Wimbledon in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She reached the quarter-finals in 2021.
  7. Coming into Wimbledon she has already earned more than $6.2m in prize money in her career.
  8. She has won three Tour titles in Birmingham (2021), Madrid (2022) and Berlin (2022). 
  9. Has beaten a top 10 player four times in her career – Dominika Cibulkova (2017 French Open), Simona Halep (Beijing 2018), Sloane Stephens (Moscow 2018) and Karolina Pliskova (Doha 2020).
  10. In October 2021 she became the first Arab player (mae or female) to crack the world’s top 10 in tennis. 

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Tatjana Maria – Reaching Wimbledon Semi-Finals is ‘Amazing’ But It Doesn’t Beat Parenthood

The underdog is enjoying her best-ever run at a major 15 years after making her debut.

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Image via twitter.com/wta

Germany’s Tatjana Maria reveals people once doubted her ability to return to tennis after having her first child. Now a mother-of-two, she has secured a place in the Wimbledon semifinals. 

 

The fairytale run of the world No.103 continued on Tuesday when she ousted compatriot Jule Niemeier 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, in her quarter-final match. Until the tournament, Maria had never been beyond the third round of a major event. However, that changed with high-profile wins over Sorana Cirstea, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko prior to Niemeier.

“It’s amazing. I mean, I tried to calm down a little bit in the locker room and to realize something, but it’s still hard to realize it,” she said of reaching the last four at Wimbledon.

Whilst some players prepare for their Grand Slam matches in the gym, Maria’s routine is somewhat unique. She began her day by taking her 8-year-old daughter to her tennis lesson. It wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she also has a 15-month-old baby.

“Outside of the court, nothing changes for me for the moment,” she said.  “I try to keep this going, everything the same. We keep going (to the tennis lessons) even if I’m playing the semifinals.”

Incredibly the 34-year-old returned to the circuit following maternity leave less than a year ago. It was during that absence that she decided to switch to a one-handed backhand. She has been ranked as high as 46th in the world and has two Tour titles to her name. 

“A lot of people who never believed I would come back. This was already after Charlotte and when I changed my backhand,” she said.
“I showed it last time already that I am back. I reached the top 50 with Charlotte, and now I’m back with my second child. Still, everybody was doubting.’
“I’m still here and I’m a fighter, and I keep going and I keep dreaming.”

Relishing in her best-ever performance at a major event, Maria is another example of a player having a breakthrough later in their career. To put her run in perspective, in the Open Era only five other women have reached the semifinals at Wimbledon after turning 34.

However, in Maria’s eyes, her achievements on the court can’t beat her top priority off the court.

“To be a mum is for me on the top of my life. So I think it helps me in tennis too because now my priority is my kids,” she explains. “I play tennis, I want to do my best, that’s all that I want. But my kids are the priority.’
“If I go out there, I want my kids to be happy, that they are healthy, that everything is okay. That’s the most important thing for me in my life.”

Maria made her Grand Slam debut back at Wimbledon in 2007. 

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