The British Contingent Set To Bring Joy To The Home Crowd At Wimbledon - UBITENNIS
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The British Contingent Set To Bring Joy To The Home Crowd At Wimbledon

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To the delight of Andy Murray, he will no longer be the sole focus of the British media during this year’s Wimbledon Championships.

This year there will be 15 British players taking part, eight in the men’s and seven in the women’s. Before the tournament started, a duo of players had already created history in the tournament. Johanna Konta will be the first British woman to be seeded in the tournament since Jo Durie in 1984 and British No.23 Marcus won six rounds of qualifying to become the lowest ranked player to play in the main draw (without the use of a protected ranking) since 2000.

Out of the 15 entrants, eight of them made the draw with a direct entry or via qualifying. To put this number in perspective, only three Brits were able to achieve this last year. This year British tennis has celebrated milestones such as Konta reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open, Kyle Edmund picking up his first top-10 win against Gilles Simon, Dan Evans winning two Challenger titles and Naomi Broady reaching the semifinals of the Kuala Lumpur Open.

The poster boy of British Tennis, Andy Murray, has praised the current surge in triumphs by his teammates. In an article written for the BBC, the world No.2 believes that some has the ability to ‘spring some surprises’ at Wimbledon.

“With 15 British players involved in the singles competitions at Wimbledon this year, and the recent success in doubles for my brother Jamie and Dom Inglot, it does feel like there’s a bit of a feelgood factor around British tennis at the moment.” Murray wrote.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect, but this tournament is a big chance for some of them to make their mark and you just hope they do themselves justice, because it’s tough working your way up through the rankings.”

A lot has happened since the dark days of Wimbledon 2010 when Murray became the only British player to reach the second round at the tournament, the lowest number of British wins in the tournament’s long history.  The British Lawn Tennis Association came under a tsunami of criticism from the media and some doubted that British tennis would see another surge.

Fortunately, six years later, critics have been proven wrong.  The country now has seven top-100 players (four men and three women) and are the current Davis Cup champions. Andy Murray is no longer the key focus of British tennis. A position that both him and millions of other Brits are ecstatic about.

The British 15 and their first round matches

Men
James Ward v Novak Djokovic SRB
Kyle Edmund Vs Adrian Mannarino FRA
Brydan Klein (WC) Vs Nicolas Mahut FRA
Alexander Ward (WC) Vs David Goffin (11) BEL
Marcus William (Q) Vs Ricardas Berankis LTU
Dan Evans Vs Jan-Lennard Struff GER
Aljaz Bedene Vs Richard Gasquet (7) FRA
Andy Murray (2) Vs Liam Broady (WC)

Women
Heather Watson Vs Annika Beck GER
Tara Moore (WC) Vs Alison Van Uytvanck BEL
Katie Swan (WC) Vs Timea Babos
Johanna Konta (16) Vs Monica Puig PUR
Laura Robson (WC) Vs Angelique Kerber GER
Naomi Broady Vs Elina Svitolina (17) UKR

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Iga Swiatek Demolishes Aryna Sabalenka To Seal Third Rome Title

Iga Swiatek claimed her third Rome title after a dominant victory over Aryna Sabalenka.

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Iga Swiatek claimed her third Rome title by dominating Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-3 to send a big message of intent ahead of Roland Garros.

The world number one completed the Madrid and Rome double with a sensational performance.

Now Swiatek is the titleholder for the three biggest clay court titles as she will aim to defend her Roland Garros title.

The contest was a rematch from the Madrid final but this was far from the three hour contest that was produced in Spain.

Swiatek raised her level of play while Sabalenka committed way too many unforced errors throughout the contest.

The Pole broke on two occasions to wrap up a comfortable 37 minute set as her forehand was doing a lot of damage.

There was a comeback in the second set from the Australian Open champion as she produced effortless and consistent power, making the second set very competitive.

The world number one was forced to save break points as she just managed to be more stable on big moments.

A more controlled second set from Swiatek was rewarded towards the end of the set as once again Sabalenka crumbled under pressure when it mattered.

Two late breaks of serve completed the Swiatek surge as the Pole enters the second Grand Slam of the season in dominant form.

As for Sabalenka it’s a disappointing performance that she will look to put right at Roland Garros.

Roland Garros starts on the 26th of May where Swiatek is defending champion.

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Internazionali d’Italia Daily Preview: Sascha Zverev Plays Nicolas Jarry for the Men’s Singles Championship

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Nicolas Jarry on Friday night in Rome (twitter.com/InteBNLdItalia)

Sunday features three championship matches: the finals in men’s singles, men’s doubles, and women’s doubles.

On Sunday in Rome, Sascha Zverev will play for his first Masters 1000 title in over two years, while Nicolas Jarry will play in his first-ever final above ATP 250 level.  Zverev leads their head-to-head 4-2, but they are tied at 2-2 on clay.  Which man will walk away with the title?


Sascha Zverev (3) vs. Nicolas Jarry (21) – Not Before 5:00pm on Center Court

Zverev is 27-9 this season, and lost only one set on his way to this championship match.  That came in the semifinals against another Chilean, Alejandro Tabilo.  This is Sascha’s first ATP final since September of last year, and he’s playing for his first Masters 1000 title since 2021 in Cincinnati.  Zverev will soon go on trial in his home country of Germany, as he faces charges of domestic abuse.

Just like eventual champion Andrey Rublev in Madrid, Jarry arrived in Rome on a four-match losing streak.  And he had never advanced beyond the quarterfinals at a Masters 1000 tournament, so this result is quite surprising.  But 28-year-old Jarry is a tall presence (6’7”) who thumps the ball.  As per Tennis Channel, he was averaging 89 mph on his forehand during his three-set semifinal victory over Tommy Paul.  Nico has claimed a trio of three-setters on the way to the biggest match of his career, most notably upsetting Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals.

Zverev certainly has a huge edge in experience at this level, and in finals.  This is his 33rd ATP final, where he holds a record of 21-11.  And it’s his 11th Masters 1000 final, where he is 5-5.  Jarry has only previously appeared in six finals, all at 250-level, where he is 3-3.  But clay is the Chliean’s specialty, as all seven of his career finals have come on this surface.

Yet sometimes experience has a negative impact, particularly when you have suffered some painful losses.  Zverev has lost four of his last six Masters 1000 finals, and he is infamously 1-6 in Major semifinals.  So he has a lot of recent scar tissue from high-profile matches.

In that way, Jarry may benefit from a lack of experience.  While he’ll certainly be nervous on this big occasion, Nico has displayed plenty of confidence and composure against more experienced players throughout this event.  And he owns two prior victories over Zverev.  But when these two met in another final, five years ago in Geneva, Sascha saved two championship points to prevail.  That’s a result that sticks with both players throughout their rivalry.

However, I’m picking Jarry to pull off the upset and win the biggest title of his career on Sunday.  Zverev has a history of getting tight and playing more defensively in crucial moments.  Jarry’s aggressive mindset can take full advantage of such passive play.  And with so many top ATP players currently battling injuries, Zverev will likely feel a lot of pressure to win this title ahead of Roland Garros, especially as the much higher seed on this day.


Other Notable Matches on Sunday:

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos (1) vs. Marcelo Arevalo and Mate Pavic – The top seeds are playing for their sixth Masters 1000 title as a team, and own a record of 5-1 in finals at this level.  Arevalo and Pavic are vying for the first Masters 1000 title of their new partnership for 2024.  Both teams are yet to drop a set this fortnight. 

Coco Gauff and Erin Routliffe (3) vs. Sara Errani and Jasmine Paolini – This is the first tournament for the team of Gauff and Routliffe, though both have won big doubles titles with other partners.  This is the biggest final to date for the Italian team of Errani and Paolini, though Errani won five WTA 1000 doubles titles alongside Roberta Vinci a decade ago, while Paolini won the WTA 1000 event in Dubai earlier this year in singles.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Emma Raducanu Criticises Gender Pay Gap And Responds To Critics Ahead Of Roland Garros

Emma Raducanu has criticised the gender pay gap in tennis as Rome’s prize money for the women’s tournament was significantly lower than the men’s tournament.

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Emma Raducanu has criticised the gender pay gap after the tournament in Rome significantly payed less to it’s female athletes than it’s main counterparts.

Although Roland Garros and the tournament in Madrid offered the same pay to the winners of both female and male competitions, the same cannot be said for Rome this week.

The winner between Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka will get 250,000 Euros less than the winner of the men’s final between Alexander Zverev and Nicolas Jarry.

It’s a statistic that is damning on the sport and Emma Raducanu has criticised the figure as she states that the women’s game is technically better than the men’s game, “A lot of women’s players are technically better,” Raducanu told The Times.

“They rely on speed, agility and brain rather than brute strength. The prize money gap is huge on the ATP tour, which I don’t necessarily think is fair, but equally playing three sets in the slams is a lot better than the men’s five, which is brutal.”

Meanwhile as for Raducanu, the Brit is preparing for Roland Garros qualifying next week as she missed out on a wildcard into the main draw.

Despite Raducanu’s gradual improvement over the last few weeks the trolls on social media have failed to go away as the former US Open champion continues her commercial commitments.

Speaking out on the critics Raducanu stated that they don’t see the work of an athlete behind the scenes, “There are those who see me doing a shoot or posing for a commercial and they don’t see the seven hours before that at the training centre, doing physio, gym, hitting balls,” Raducanu explained.

“But if on a rare evening I go to a premiere and I get photographed, that’s my downtime.”

Next week’s appearance in Paris will only be Raducanu’s second Roland Garros having reached the second round two years ago.

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