ATP Rome Draw: Andy Murray And Novak Djokovic Suffer Tough Draws - UBITENNIS
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ATP Rome Draw: Andy Murray And Novak Djokovic Suffer Tough Draws

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Can Andy Murray defend his title in Rome? (Zimbio)

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic suffered tough draws ahead of the masters 1000 event in Rome.

First Quarter

The first quarter of the Rome draw sees the world number one and defending champion Andy Murray. The struggling Brit could have a tricky match in his first match as Rome champion as he could face erratic Italian Fabio Fognini in the second round. Fognini will have to get past fellow Italian Matteo Berretini first before setting up a blockbuster match with Murray. Also in this half of the draw we have the dangerous youngster Alexander Zverev, he will face a qualifier in round one and could set up a possible second round with Viktor Troicki.

Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic complete the seeds in this quarter. Berdych has got Mischa Zverev and could face Robin Haas in round two, while Milos Raonic will play either Tommy Haas or Ivo Karlovic in a second round match.

Given the form Murray is in you would have to say he is a draw loser in this instance with the likes of Alexander Zverev and Milos Raonic lurking in this section of the draw.

Second Quarter

In the other quarter of the top half of the draw we have Stan Wawrinka, the third seed in Rome. He would of liked a good draw this week, however he could face the man that beat him in Madrid, Benoit Paire. The controversial Frenchman will have to get past compatriot Nicolas Mahut before meeting Wawrinka for a second week in a row. Also in the Wawrinka section of this quarter you have an all German match between Florian Mayer and Phillip Kohlschreiber, with the winner playing the returning John Isner or 14th seed Albert Ramos-Viñolas.

In the other section we have ninth seed David Goffin, who is one of the best clay court players on tour right now, he has a qualifier in the first round. If Goffin was to win he would play either Fernando Verdasco or Donald Young. Completing this quarter sees Ryan Harrison facing a qualifier with the winner facing sixth seed Marin Cilic.

A draw winner here would be David Goffin, given his form and the fact that Marin Cilic is a favourable draw to have considering the Croat isn’t best suited to this surface. You wouldn’t bet against the Belgian reaching the quarterfinals in Rome.

Third Quarter

The bottom half of the draw opens up with eighth seed Dominic Thiem, who looks dangerous once again on the European red clay courts. However he could open up against dangerous Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas, who is looking dangerous in Madrid. Should Thiem reach the third round he could face Lucas Pouille, who plays Sam Querrey in the first round. Pouille could play controversial Australian Bernard Tomic in round two.

In the other part of this quarter we have 13th seed Jack Sock who will play Argentinian Diego Schwartzman. The winner of this contest will play the winner of Dan Evans’ match with Jiri Vesely. The king of clay Rafael Nadal closes out the seeds in this quarter and will face either Andreas Seppi or a qualifier.

Nadal is certainly a draw winner here until the quarterfinals where Thiem or Cuevas could await the red hot Spaniard.

Fourth Quarter

Kei Nishikori is the opening seed in this quarter, he might be a doubt going into Rome after suffering wrist inflammation, but if he does play he will play the winner of the all Spanish clash between David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez. It is a loaded part of the quarter this as 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov will play Juan Martin Del Potro. The winner plays either Joao Sousa or Kyle Edmund.

15th seed Pablo Carreño Busta is also in this quarter he has a brutal test against Gilles Simon awaiting in the first round, with a match against Nick Kyrgios or Roberto Bautista Agut awaiting the winner. Novak Djokovic closes the draw out, he plays Gianluca Mager or a qualifier in the second round.

In this fun section of the draw it is anyone’s game. You would have to favour Grigor Dimitrov or Pablo Carreño Busta to challenge Novak Djokovic, although despite his state of mind don’t count out the dangerous Nick Kyrgios.

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Roland Garros 2024: Practice Makes Perfect For Carlos Alcaraz In Roland Garros Title Bid

Carlos Alcaraz is looking to overcome the pain barrier as he searches for Roland Garros glory.

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Carlos Alcaraz is bidding for a first Roland Garros title but the Spaniard will need to overcome the pain barrier in order to achieve his goal.

The world number three enters this year’s tournament with mixed preparations having suffered an injury during practice in Monte-Carlo.

Alcaraz failed to play in Barcelona, where he was defending champion, before exiting Madrid at the quarter-finals stage to eventual winner Andrey Rublev.

Despite Alcaraz’s lack of fitness, the Spaniard will feel he has a good chance of achieving a special landmark as he has the opportunity to win 75% of the career Grand Slam.

Speaking ahead of the fortnight Alcaraz admitted he is feeling better but needs to change some psychological feelings when hitting the forehand again, “I’m feeling better. At least I can practise, hit balls without pain. That’s a really good point for me,” Alcaraz explained in his pre-tournament press conference.

“I’m not feeling any pain in the practices when I step on the court. But I’m still thinking about it when I am hitting forehands. Probably I’m gonna say I’m a little bit scared about hitting every forehand 100 percent. So I have to change it in my first match.”

Roland Garros holds a special place in Alcaraz’s heart having had good memories and matches in the past with the Spaniard reaching the semi-finals last year.

Now Alcaraz is aiming to win his maiden title in Paris as he continues his development at an elite level.

The Spaniard spoke about how special Roland Garros is and spoke about how wide open this year’s tournament is given the form and fitness of Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner, “Right now, I don’t see a clear favourite to win the tournament, but there is a wide range of players who can do it,” Alcaraz explained.

“It’s Roland-Garros and it’s a really special tournament. Everybody wants to do good results here. This tournament is one of the main reasons that I’m practicing every day. I want to be a better player, to be able to win these kinds of tournaments.”

Alcaraz starts his Roland Garros on Sunday against lucky loser J.J. Wolf.

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Tomas Machac Stuns Novak Djokovic To Reach Maiden ATP Final In Geneva

Tomas Machac is into his first career ATP final after stunning Novak Djokovic in Geneva.

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Tomas Machac is into his first ATP final after defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4 0-6 6-1 in Geneva.

The world number one seemed to be struggling physically throughout the contest as Machac earned the biggest win of his career.

After trailing 4-1 in the opening set, Machac played aggressive tennis against a sub-par Djokovic to win five games in a row and take the opening set.

In the second set Djokovic was back to his brilliant best as he won six consecutive games to level the match at one set all.

However the Serb was clearly struggling with his fitness and conditioning as Machac secured the biggest win of his career, reaching a first ATP final.

Speaking after the match Machac was lost for words as he looks ahead to Saturday’s showdown, “I have no reaction right now, I just fought for every ball,” Machac told the ATP website.

“When you play against Novak you just hope. You just try to play your best and see what it looks like. I am looking forward to playing in a final for the first time.”

As for Djokovic, the Serb is yet to reach a final this year and will need to get his form back on track as he prepares to begin his Roland Garros title defence against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

Meanwhile Machac will play either Casper Ruud or Flavio Cobolli in the final.

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Roland Garros 2024: Coco Gauff Preparing For Uncomfortable Changes In Paris

Coco Gauff is ready to make uncomfortable changes to her game ahead of Roland Garros.

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Coco Gauff has said that she is ready to make uncomfortable changes to her game as she prepares for Roland Garros.

The American is a former finalist having reached the final in 2022 but has struggled with her game throughout the clay court season.

However there was hope in Rome as she did reach the semi-finals in Italy before losing comfortably to Iga Swiatek in the last four.

Speaking ahead of the start of the tournament Gauff is confident of a good run in Paris after an encouraging display in Italy, “I have been here for a couple days now, and I feel like I have been preparing great,” the American was quoted by Reuters as saying on media day.

“Had a good tournament in Rome, so I’m excited, hope I can have good vibes here. Last week I felt like from the start of the week till the end of the week I improved a lot. It gave me a lot of confidence for this tournament.”

Despite a recent poor run of form, Gauff has had an incredible last 12 months and is looking to reach a third consecutive Grand Slam semi-final.

However Gauff would like to be more competitive when facing her rivals at the big events which is something that hasn’t improved since she won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Now the 20 year-old has admitted that she will have to make some uncomfortable changes to her game as she prepares for her Roland Garros campaign, “I feel like, overall, if I want to be the player that I want to become, I have to be uncomfortable and make changes to my game, not just to my serve, but other things, as well,” Gauff explained.

“I have been trying to improve it with every tournament, from the start of the clay to Rome. My last match it was a lot better in terms of percentage and the double faults. I think I’m confident.

“I feel like it’s getting better but it’s obviously a shot that is tough to change because when you’re tight you revert back to what you know works. Sometimes it’s tough to push yourself to do the uncomfortable things which you know in the long term are better for you.”

Gauff will begin her campaign against a qualifier on Monday.

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